Lepidium crenatum
Author: (Greene) Rydb.


Alkaline pepperwort


Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Close up of Lepidium crenatum by Peggy Lyon
Click image to enlarge.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G2
State rank: S2
Federal protection status: None
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Lepidium crenatum: artwork not available

General description: Perennials or subshrubs; 2-11 dm tall; puberulent; flowers white. Stems are simple from base, erect, and branched distally.  Basal leaves form a small rosette of oblanceolate to spatulate leaves with crenate to serrate-crenate margins. Cauline leaves are shortly petiolate or sessile; and the leaf blades are oblong to oblanceolate, with margins entire.  Flowers are in racemes which elongate slightly in fruit.  Fruit are broadly ovate, apically winged, and glabrous; style is 0.2-0.6 mm, and is exserted beyond the apical notch (Flora of North America 1993+).  The plants are succulent, branching at the base, with many densely leafy stems (Weber and Wittmann 2012).

Look Alikes: Lepidium crenatum is distinguished from other species of Lepidium as follows: the lower leaves are entire or few-toothed at or near the apex, and are broadly spatulate. Cauline leaves are oblanceolate or broader, and entire. The plants are succulent, and branching at the base, with many densely leafy stems (Weber and Wittmann 2012). Additionally, mature fruits contain apical notch 0.1-0.2 mm deep (Flora of North America 2010).

Phenology: Flowering June-August (Flora of North America 1993+, Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).

[+] Herbarium Photos

Images of Lepidium crenatum housed at the Colorado State University Herbarium.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Lepidium crenatum by Peggy Lyons
Click image to enlarge.

Openings in pinyon-juniper (Pinus edulis-Juniperus osteosperma) woodlands. Associated plant species include Oligospermous dracunculus, Symphoricarpos oreophilus, Artemisia ludoviciana, Quercus gambelii, Fendlera falcata, Amelanchier utahensis, Gutierrezia sarothrae. May be associated with Mancos shale (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012). Also found on arroyo banks and greasewood flats (Weber and Wittmann 2012).

Elevation Range: 6,063 - 8,130 feet (1,848 - 2,478 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Lepidium crenatum in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2012, COMaP v9 ).
Click image to enlarge.

Distribution of Lepidium crenatum in Colorado
Click image to enlarge.

Colorado endemic: No
Global range: Known from six counties in eastern Utah, two counties in northwest New Mexico, and six counties in western Colorado (USDA, NRCS 2013).
State range: Known from Delta, Mesa, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose and Rio Blanco counties in Colorado.

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Summary results of an analysis of the status of Lepidium crenatum based on several ranking factors. This species was concluded to be “Weakly Conserved”. From Rondeau et al. 2011.
Click image to enlarge.

May be subject to some disturbance from National Park and road maintenance activities, cultural heritage preservation, recreation, and non-native species such as cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and smooth brome (Bromus inermis).

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2008. The Fifth Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: G2 Plants of Colorado. Symposium Minutes. Available on-line http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/teams/botany.asp#symposia.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2012. Biodiversity Tracking and Conservation System. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, ed. (FNA). 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Oxford Univ. Press, New York, Oxford.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2010. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 7. Magnoliophyta: Salicaceae to Brassicaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. xxii + 797 pp.
    • Goodrich, S., and E. Neese. 1986. Uinta Basin flora. U.S. Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Ogden, Utah. 320 pp.
    • Harrington, H.D. 1954. Manual of the plants of Colorado. Sage Press, Chicago. 666 pp.
    • Heil, K.D., S.L. O'Kane Jr., L.M. Reeves, and A. Clifford, 2013. Flora of the Four Corners Region, Vascular Plants of the San Juan River Drainage; Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis, Missouri. 1098 pp.
    • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.
    • Lavender, A.E., M.M. Fink, S.E. Linn, D.M. Theobald. 2011. Colorado Ownership, Management, and Protection v9 Database. Colorado Natural Heritage Program and Geospatial Centroid, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. (30 September).
    • Neely, B., S. Panjabi, E. Lane, P. Lewis, C. Dawson, A. Kratz, B. Kurzel, T. Hogan, J. Handwerk, S. Krishnan, J. Neale, and N. Ripley. 2009. Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Strategy, Developed by the Colorado Rare Plant conservation Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Boulder, Colorado, 117 pp.
    • Rollins, R.C. 1993. The Cruciferae of continental North America: Systematics of the mustard family from the Arctic to Panama. Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford, California. 976 pp.
    • Rydberg, P.A. 1906. Flora of Colorado. Agricultural Experiment Station of the Colorado Agricultural College, Fort Collins.
    • USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.
    • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 1996b. Colorado flora: Western slope. Univ. Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 496 pp.
    • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 2012b. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, a field guide to the vascular plants, fourth edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.

Last Updated

2012-08-13