Pepper Grass, the name in this country of a garden annual (lepidium sativum) which in England is called cress; though both names are given in our seed catalogues, that first mentioned is the one in most common use. The genus lepidium (Gr. , a little scale, referring to the small flat pods) belongs to the crueiferae or mustard family, and is represented, in all parts of this country by native and introduced species; the garden species is a native of west central Asia, and has been, cultivated in England since 1548. It has deeply divided leaves, small white flowers, and minute orbicular flattened seed pods; it has the pungency common to the family in a pleasant form, and is cultivated exclusively for its young leaves, which are used as a salad, either alone or to mix with other salad plants. It is of rapid growth, and being of use only when young and tender, it is customary to make a sowing once a week in order to keep up a supply; any garden soil will suit it, and the seeds, when sown in shallow drills, come up very quickly; with us it can only be had in good condition early in the season, as hot weather causes it to run to flower very soon; in England the leaves are plucked separately, leaving the plant to produce others, but in our gardens it is generally cut. There are plain and curled varieties, and one with yellowish leaves called golden and Australian pepper grass.
A related species found abundantly upon the shores of New Zealand was much valued by the early mariners as a remedy for scurvy.