Pepper herb ( Lepidium latifolium )
The pepper herb ( Lepidium latifolium ), usually called broad-leaved cress or beach cress , is a species of cress ( Lepidium ) within the cruciferous family (Brassicaceae). Just like garden cress, it can be used in the kitchen. Raw it has the same sharp, peppery taste, only a little more intense than garden cress. The common name "savory" For example, sometimes for the savory ( Satureja hortensis used).
Description and usage
The appearance of the pepper herb differs more from the other types of cress. They are perennial herbaceous plants , while many other cress species are annual or biennial. It reaches heights of growth of around 100 centimeters and is thus significantly larger than the other cress species. Since it reproduces via runners , it often forms dense groups.
The alternate leaves are undivided. The basal leaves are larger and wider than the stem leaves. The stem leaves are egg-shaped to lanceolate, between 5 and 10 cm long and between 1 and 2 cm wide, depending on the height of the stem. They are bald and have fine, sometimes indistinctly toothed edges.
The inflorescence is a rather loosely branched panicle , while the flowers of the other species are arranged in rather compact clusters at the top . Because of this wide, white and fragrant inflorescence, the pepper herb is sometimes used in bouquets . The sepals have a white border, almost from their base to their tip.
The pods are flattened and round or broadly oval in outline.
The number of chromosomes is 2n = 24.
The original distribution area included the temperate and meridional zones of Eurasia (Europe to Central Asia , China, India and Mongolia). Around 1900 it was brought to North America , presumably with sugar beet seeds . It is also found as a neophyte in Hawaii, Japan, Australia and Argentina.
The pepper herb is found mainly on the coasts and thus on salty sandy or clay soils such as dunes . In the inland it is in Europe represented only slightly for the same reason. If it does occur, it also prefers saline locations there, but can occasionally also be found along river banks in meadows or at older ruderal sites . It thrives in societies of the associations Agropyro-Rumicion, Senecio fluviatilis or Sisymbrion.
In recent times, the pepper herb has spread rapidly on the edge of motorways and federal highways in southwest and west Germany.
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