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Cardaria draba - (L.)Desv.

Common Name Hoary Cress, Whitetop
Family Brassicaceae or Cruciferae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats A weed of arable fields, it is spreading rapidly in Britain[17].
Range Europe - Mediterranean to W. Asia. Naturalized in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Cardaria draba Hoary Cress, Whitetopández_García
Cardaria draba Hoary Cress, Whitetop


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cardaria draba is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from May to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Lepidium draba.


 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses: Condiment

Young leaves and shoots - raw in salads or cooked as a potherb[2, 61, 105, 183]. A report says that the young leaves contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide, though does not give any more details[240]. In small quantities this substance is fairly harmless, and has even been recommended as having health benefits, but caution is suggested if you eat these leaves[K]. The pungent leaves are used as a seasoning[183]. The seed is used as a condiment, it is a pepper substitute[2, 17, 61, 74, 148, 183].


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiscorbutic  Carminative

The plant is antiscorbutic[240]. The seeds have been used as a cure for flatulence and fish poison[240]. It is assumed that this report is referring to food poisoning caused by eating suspect fish[K].


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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Succeeds in a sunny position in most soils.


Temperature Converter

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Seed - sow in situ in spring. There is very little need to encourage this plant, it is a rapidly spreading weed in Britain. Division in spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Hoary cress, Srdasica, White weed, globed-podded hoarycress, peppergrass, whitetop, whiteweed.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Afghanistan, Africa, Argentina, Armenia, Asia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Balkans, Belgium, Bosnia, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Central Asia*, China, Egypt, Europe, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kashmir, Kazakstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Mediterranean, Netherlands, North Africa, North America, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South America, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tasmania, Turkey, Turkmenistan, USA, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Yugoslavia.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Noxious Weed Information. In the US it is a noxious weed in the following areas: Alaska (whitetop) Noxious weed. Arizona (globe-podded hoary cress) Prohibited noxious weed. (globe-podded hoary cress, whitetop) Restricted noxious weed. California (lens podded hoarycress) B list (noxious weeds). Colorado (hoary cress) B list (noxious weeds). Idaho (hoary cress) Noxious weed. Iowa (perennial pepper-grass) Primary noxious weed. Kansas (hoary cress) Noxious weed. Montana (whitetop, hoary cress) Category 1 noxious weed. Nevada (whitetop, hoary cress) Noxious weed. New Mexico (hoary cress) Class A noxious weed. Oregon (whitetop, hoary cress) "B" designated weed (whitetop, hoary cress) Quarantine. South Dakota (hoary cress) Noxious weed (hoary cress) Regulated non-native plant species. Utah (hoary cress) Noxious weed. Washington (hoary cress) Class C noxious weed. Wyoming (hoary cress, whitetop) Noxious weed. A weed in much of south-east and south-west Australia

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

annonymous   Sun Apr 16 2006

I am writing a paper on Cardaria draba and I have to include any useful features of the weed. So far I couldnt find any so Thank you o much for posting that sort of info about C. draba annonymous

Carey   Sun Apr 9 2006

how did cardaria draba get to the united states? what problems is it causing and how does cardaria draba differ from lepidium draba

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