field pennycress

(Thlaspi arvense)

Conservation Status
field pennycress
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNA - No Status Rank

SNA - No Status Rank


not listed

Weed Status

Restricted Weed Seed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

UPL - Obligate upland


The seed pods are flat, round, and at least long when mature. They are notched at the tip, the notch much deeper than it is wide. There is a distinct separation between the outer, papery winged margin of the pod and the two seeds it contains. The large size and shape of the pods is the plant’s most distintive feature.




4 to 20


Flower Color




Similar Species


Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) has seed pods that are triangular, about ¼ long at maturity, and are not notched.


Roadsides, weedy meadows, cultivated fields, gardens, disturbed sites




April to June


Pests and Diseases




Defense Mechanisms


This and other mustards (family Brassicaceae) produce chemical compounds when cells are damaged that are toxic to most animals, fungi, and bacteria.




Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 24, 28, 29, 30.




Native to Europe, Asia, Pakistan, and the Madeira Islands. Introduced and naturalized.





  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Brassicales (mustards, capers, and allies)  


Brassicaceae (mustard)  
  Tribe Thlaspideae  


Thlaspi (penny cresses)  

Subordinate Taxa








Common Names



field pennycress


mithridate mustard













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  Thlaspi arvense
Susanne Wiik
  Thlaspi arvense  

Pengeurt, Field Penny-cress




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Other Videos
  Filed Penny-Cress (Thlaspi Arvense) - 2012-07-02

Published on Jul 3, 2012

Thlaspi arvense (common name Field Penny-cress) is a foetid Eurasian plant having round flat pods; naturalized throughout North America. It is also related to the Lepidium species in the cabbage family.

Witte krodde (Thlaspi arvensi) is een eenjarige plant die behoort tot de kruisbloemenfamilie (Brassicaceae).

  Field Pennycress Kevin Anderson

Published on Mar 20, 2013

A description of Kevin Anderson's pennycress research at the University of Minnesota

  Weed of the Week #762-Field Pennycress (Air Date 11/11/12)

Published on Nov 14, 2012

It's our Weed of the Week, Field Pennycress.

  winter annuals as a living mulch - penny cress
paul wheaton

Uploaded on Sep 10, 2011

Helen Atthowe of talks about using winter annuals as a lving mulch. In this case, field penny cress - Thlaspi arvense.

It grows in the late fall or early spring and then, conveniently dies for the summer growing season, thus leaving behind a light mulch that makes it difficult for weeds to get a start.

This is a case of choosing your weeds. If you choose to have no weeds, then you will get weeds that you don't want. The penny cress is an extremely polite weed: it does not compete for water or nutrients throughout the typical growing season, and it helps to retard other weeds.

Relevant threads at permies:

music by Jimmy Pardo

  Plant Use And Identification - Pennycress Biodiesel

Published on Jun 7, 2012

Thanks for your views, comments, and support. Want to see more wild plant videos and potential uses? Look here: Everything is organized into playlists on the feed page.

This is part two continuing the series on how to identify plants by flower. Sometimes identification by flower is difficult if not impossible. Using careful observation of other plant characteristics such as leaf attachment, petiole, lack of petiole, seed shape, smell, color, and other features may lead to a positive identification.

Part one video and description:

By dissecting flowers it is possible to place plants into families. By placing plants into families it is much easier to obtain species identification. By obtaining species identification it is possible to research plants by Latin name and determine potential uses, whether or not those uses be for food, medicine, poison, or utility purposes.

This video shows how to identify a plant to the Mustard family by flower pattern. Mustards have racemes, a spiral like flower and seed structure attaching to stem, they have flowers with 4 sepals, 4 petals, 6 stamen; 4 long and 2 short, and one pistil.

Brassica, Brassicaceae, Cruciferae, or cabbage family of plants. as they are sometimes called are fairly easy to identify and become familiar with. Mustards have a multitude of uses and are extremely abundant making them very worth while to learn. The Mustard family of plants contains many species, many of which are used for food, medicine, or utility purposes.

Mustard plants are used to make biodiesel and also are known to contain glucosinolates which are allelopathic, meaning they prevent other plants from growing. Having this characteristic they are used to prevent weeds in gardens, mainly in large agricultural operations. Canola oil is made with a mustard family plant. Some mustard seeds make a good substitute for black pepper. Mustard plasters are used to relieve chest congestion.

There are many Mustard family plants grown in the garden; Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Turnips, Radishes, Kale, Kohlrabi, Rhutabega, and others. The characteristics described in this video can be seen in the cultivated garden varieties as well. Taking a plant one is already familiar with, such as a household plant or garden variety, and examining the characteristics is a great way to quickly become familiar with a plant family and the patterns it features.

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