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Pesticide Safety Education Program

Ohio State University Extension


Hairy white top or ballcress (Lepidium appelianum)

Description: Perennial creeping mustard plant that grows up to two feet tall. Plants appear grey-green, soft, and hairy

Life Cycle: Perennial

Habitat: Open conditions, pastures, and disturbed areas. Prefers alkaline soils

Flower: Clustered white flowers in racemes made up of 20-30 flowers

Fruit: Inflated seeds pods are oval in shape and covered in fine hairs

Leaves: Blue-green in color with lower leaves being stalked and upper leaves having two lobes clasping the stem

Root: Deep, spreading root system

The problem is…hairy white top is a prolific spreader. Each plant produces 300-2000 seeds and shoots can develop from any part of the permanent root system.

Hairy Whitetop seedling

Hairy Whitetop whole plant

Hairy Whitetop