Thlaspi arvense (field pennycress)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Thlaspi arvense L. (1753)
Preferred Common Name
- field pennycress
International Common Names
- English: bastard cress; fanweed; pennycress; stinkweed; THLAR (Thlaspi arvense)
- Spanish: carrapisque; telaspio
- French: tabouret des champs; tabouret perfolie
- Portuguese: thlaspio
Local Common Names
- Belgium: boerekers; witte krodde
- Denmark: almindelig pengeurt
- Finland: peltotaskuruoho
- Germany: Ackerhellerkraut; Ackertaschelkraut; Herzschotchen; Pfennigkraut
- Italy: erba storna
- Japan: gunbainazuna
- Netherlands: krodde, witte
- Norway: pengeurt
- Sweden: penningort
- THLAR (Thlaspi arvense)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Capparidales
- Family: Brassicaceae
- Genus: Thlaspi
- Species: Thlaspi arvense
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page Thlaspi arvense is the universally accepted name for this common and widespread annual weed. Chromosome number (2n) = 14 (Best and McIntyre, 1975).
DescriptionTop of page T. arvense is an annual or winter annual. The entire plant is glabrous and bright green, with an unpleasant odour when bruised. Stems are erect, 18 to 80 cm tall, simple or branched above. The leaves are alternate, with basal leaves narrowly obovate, petioled and soon withering, the middle and upper leaves are oblong, entire or irregularly toothed and clasp the stem by two ear-lobes, 1 to 1.5 mm long. The flowers are initially in a small, flat cluster at the top of the leafy stem with racemes becoming elongated when in fruit, perfect, regular with four sepals, four white petals, 3 to 4 mm long; six stamens, two shorter than others. The silicule is pod-like, borne on slender, upward curving stalks, bright green to yellowish to greenish-orange. As the seeds ripen they are easily seen in crop fields, almost circular, 1.25 cm across, strongly flattened and winged. The very short style persists in a deep, narrow notch at the top of the wings, dehiscent, the two-winged locules each with 4 to 16 seeds. The seeds are ovoid, 1.2 to 2.3 mm long and 1 to 1.5 mm wide, reddish or purplish-brown to black, unsymmetrically oval in outline, somewhat flattened with several concentric ridges resembling a finger print, each face with a narrow groove extending from the hilum to the centre of the seed.
DistributionTop of page T. arvense occurs at an extreme range of latitudes (80°N to 45°S). It behaves as a weed in most temperate crops, but is seldom a problem in tropical crops (Holm et al., 1997). It is present on every continent, but its distribution is limited in Africa and South America. In the Rocky mountains of the USA, it grows in moist valleys to an altitude of 2700 m (Polunin, 1959). In the Himalayas, it has been recorded at 4200 m (Mani, 1979).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
HabitatTop of page T. arvense is a mainly temperate species which thrives on cultivated and disturbed ground. It may also be found in gardens and waste places. It grows on wet or dry ground and a range of soil types, but prefers fertile sites.
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page T. arvense has been described as a serious weed of cereals, rape, vegetable crops, pasture and beets (Holm et al., 1997). It is likely to behave as a weed in any crop within its geographical range.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Allium cepa (onion)||Liliaceae||Main|
|Allium porrum (leek)||Liliaceae||Other|
|Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)||Liliaceae||Main|
|Avena sativa (oats)||Poaceae||Main|
|Beta vulgaris (beetroot)||Chenopodiaceae||Main|
|Brassica napus var. napus (rape)||Brassicaceae||Main|
|Carthamus tinctorius (safflower)||Asteraceae||Other|
|Cicer arietinum (chickpea)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Daucus carota (carrot)||Apiaceae||Other|
|Glycine max (soyabean)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Helianthus annuus (sunflower)||Asteraceae||Main|
|Hordeum vulgare (barley)||Poaceae||Main|
|Lens culinaris subsp. culinaris (lentil)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Linum usitatissimum (flax)||Main|
|Medicago sativa (lucerne)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Oryza sativa (rice)||Poaceae||Other|
|Pisum sativum (pea)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Solanum tuberosum (potato)||Solanaceae||Main|
|Triticum aestivum (wheat)||Poaceae||Main|
|Vicia faba (faba bean)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Zea mays (maize)||Poaceae||Main|
Biology and EcologyTop of page T. arvense is an annual or winter annual species which reproduces solely by seed. The species exhibits a high degree of ecotypic variation and the many biotypes recorded mean that differences in the species phenology have been reported from various parts of its geographic range. In Nebraska, USA (41°N), McCarty (1986) reported the average date for seedling emergence as March 10, and for the production of the first mature seeds as between May 7 and 23. In Canada (50°N), the average date for emergence of 50% of seedlings was April 30 and July 7 for the shedding of the first mature seeds. In both cases mature seeds were shed long before crop harvest. The phenotypic plasticity of T. arvense is demonstrated by the morphological responses of individual plants to soil and environmental conditions. In shallow, dry and infertile soils, plants may be unbranched and as small as 1 cm tall, whereas in favourable sites, many flowering lateral branches are formed and individuals may reach 80 cm (Best and McIntyre, 1975).
T. arvense is a prolific seed producer, with yields as high as 20,000 seeds/plant (Holm et al., 1997). In Finland, Paatela and Ervio (1971) reported 20 to 450 seeds/m² in the upper layers of soil, whilst in Canada, Batho (1939) found 1300 seeds/m². The large soil seed bank of T. arvense and hence the potential for serious weed infestations have led to a large volume of research into the species germination biology. No doubt due in part to the genetic variability of this species many of the findings have been contradictory. Chepil (1946a) and McIntyre and Best (1975) reported that fresh seed was non-dormant, giving almost 100% germination in light and an alternating temperature regime of 10/25°C. Salisbury (1964) reported good germination of fresh seed, but also that a proportion were firmly dormant. Baskin and Baskin (1988, 1989) found that in May most freshly-matured seeds were dormant. Holm et al. (1997) suggest that seeds produced by winter annual populations are initially non-dormant in autumn, becoming dormant in winter, and that those produced by summer annual populations are dormant in autumn, becoming non-dormant during winter. Physical and chemical stimulants have been widely reported to break the dormancy of T. arvense seeds. Koch (1967) showed that seeds responded well at pHs of between 4 and 7. Germination decreases as atmospheric oxygen falls from 20 to 12% and no germination was observed at carbon dioxide levels above 9% (Chepil, 1946a; Bibbey, 1948). Germination is also stimulated by giberellic acid (Corns, 1960a, b), sodium hypochlorite (Hsiao, 1980) and seed coat removal or scarification (Pelton, 1956; Salisbury, 1964).
The success of T. arvense as a weed, due in part to the large volume of seed it produces, is increased by its ability to survive in the soil seed bank for periods of between 20 and 30 years (Duvel, 1905; Smith, 1917). Seed longevity increases with depth of burial; after 3 years burial at 6 and 15 cm, Chepil (1946b) recorded 5 and 15% survival of T. arvense seeds, respectively. The species is not able to emerge from great depths and Kolk (1947) found that greatest germination occurred in the top 2 cm of the soil.
Seed is dispersed by a number of agents. Over short distances it may be spread by grain harvesters and other farm machinery, in soil on the feet or fur of humans or animals. The seeds are winged and wind dispersal may carry the seed for distances of up to 1 km or more (Ridley, 1930). The seed may also travel as a contaminant of crop seed.
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page Shurovenkov (1984) carried out a survey to discover potential natural enemies for a number of cruciferous weeds and reported on 12 which significantly reduced their competitive ability.
ImpactTop of page T. arvense is a weed of 30 crops in 45 countries (Holm et al., 1997), and is classified as a serious or principal weed in 12 (Holm et al., 1991). A number of morphological and life history characteristics make the species a formidable competitor: it is a prolific seed producer, capable of building up large reserves of seed in the soil; it has an extensive root system that surrounds those of neighbouring plants; it has a short life cycle and is able to produce a number of generations in a single growing season; its seed may be viable even when mature, and it exhibits long-term dormancy; it is tolerant of some herbicides; seed is set before crop harvest and early resource allocation enables early development of the root system (Hume, 1987, 1988; Holm et al., 1997). In Canada, it has been shown that a light infestation can reduce wheat yields by 35% and a heavy infestation by 50% (Best and McIntyre, 1975). Klaassen (1995) observed an increase in the abundance of T. arvense and other cruciferous weeds following a five-fold increase in the area of rape in the preceding 5 years.
T. arvense acts as an alternative host to a range of crop pests and diseases which include the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) (Kmec and Weiss, 1997), Lygus lineolaris (Gerber and Wise, 1995), Meloidogyne hapla (Belair and Benoit, 1996), Leptosphaeria maculans (Pedras et al., 1996), Heterodera schachtii (Gleiss and Bachthaler, 1988), Pieris napi, Pontia daplidice (Forsberg, 1987), Heterodera glycines (Manuel, 1984), Delia radicum (cabbage root fly) (Finch and Ackley, 1977) and Leptosphaeria maculans (Best and McIntyre, 1975).
T. arvense has been reported as a contaminant of commercial oilseed rape seed stocks in the USA (Davis et al., 1996) and may be toxic to cattle (Smith and Crowe, 1987). Best and McIntyre (1975) note that the plant contains oil glucosides which may be converted to mustard oils. Also the content of allyl isothiocyanate (the probable reason for the name 'stinkweed') can cause gastric distress in livestock. Its also contain chemicals which produce an allelopathic effect, inhibiting the germination of wheat (Stefureac and Fratilescu-Sesan, 1979).
UsesTop of page Wood et al. (1958) concluded that the seeds of T. arvense may provide a suitable food source for ruminants and monogastric animals. Carr et al. (1993) considered the potential of T. arvense as a novel oilseed crop.
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Fodder/animal feed
- Poisonous to mammals
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page T. arvense resembles Lepidium densiflorum, but flowers of the latter are much smaller and pods contain only two seeds. L. densiflorum is restricted as a weedy species to North America and New Zealand (Holm et al., 1991). Other related species with flattened fruits include Lepidium virginicum and Cardaria draba (See separate datasheet), but the fruits in these are smaller, 2-3 mm across and the latter species is perennial. In Capsella bursa-pastoris (See separate datasheet), the fruits are heart-shaped.
Prevention and ControlTop of page Cultural Control
Because of its large seedbank, tillage practices may have a great bearing on the emergence and population density of T. arvense in cropping systems. Optimal germination of this species occurs from soil depths of about 2 cm, and burial increases the longevity of seed in the soil. Cultivation and seed bed preparation brings viable buried seed to the surface and stimulates germination (Roberts and Feast, 1972, 1973; Zwerger and Hurle, 1986). In trials on the Canadian prairies, Blackshaw et al. (1994) demonstrated that populations of T. arvense decreased under zero tillage. In field trials in the USA, the effects of post-emergence harrowing were evaluated for weed control in spring cereal crops. T. arvense was one of the most resilient weeds, and harrowing achieved only 0-34% control, compared with 100% for herbicide treatments (Wilson et al., 1992). A number of authors have reported large reductions in the emergence of T. arvense when cultivation and seed bed preparation have been practiced at night (Hartmann and Nezadal, 1990; Kuhbauch et al., 1992; Pallczynski et al., 1996).
Wahl (1988) in Germany compared the weed floras of conventional cropping systems and integrated cropping systems which consisted of shallow tillage, reduced N fertilization, paired row-drilling and pesticide applications as economic thresholds dictated. He reported that the emergence and soil seed reserves of T. arvense increased compared with conventional systems.
T. arvense is a poor competitor with certain forage crops, including Agropyron cristatum and Bromus inermis. Kirk et al. (1941) showed that densities of this weed could be reduced from 2000 plants/m² at 24 days after emergence to none at 82 days after emergence when grown with these crops. These results suggest that a break year where forage crops are introduced into the rotation may be effective where infestations of T. arvense are particularly severe. In the USA, Burnside et al. (1984) showed that a number of competitive wheat varieties effectively reduced the vigour of T. arvense individuals.
A number of herbicides are effective for controlling T. arvense. Best and McIntyre (1975) comment that T. thlaspi is very susceptible to 2,4-D and MCPA but less susceptible to dicamba and bromoxynil when used alone.
Other effective herbicides include tribenuron-methyl (Andersson, 1994a, 1994b) These include MCPA and tribenuron-methyl (Andersson, 1994a, 1994b), tribenuron in sugarbeet (Simonteit, 1992), 2,4-D + dicamba (Savchuk and Gamanyuk, 1991), metazochlor (Stratil, 1987), chlorsulfuron applied pre-emergence in autumn or post-emergence in spring (Kang, 1983) and metribuzin (Kirkland, 1980).
Mamarot and Rodriguez (1997) provide suggestions for use of herbicides and herbicide mixtures in a wide range of crops in France.
There are no reports in the literature of attempts at biological control of T. arvense.
ReferencesTop of page
Batho G, 1939. Stinkweed and common mustard. Manitoba Department of Agriculture Immigration Circulation, 129:8.
Best KF; McIntyre GI, 1975. The biology of Canadian weeds. 9. Thlaspi arvense L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 55(1):279-292
Bibbey R, 1948. Physiological studies of weed seed germination. Plant Physiology, 23:467-484.
Burnside O; Wicks G; Johnson V, 1984. Identification of competitive wheat Triticum aestivum selections to field pennycress Thlaspi arvense and downy brome Bromus tectorum. Abstracts of the 24th Weed Science Society of America Conference, 24:55.
Carr PM; Janick J; Simon JE, 1993. Potential of fanweed (Thlaspi arvense) and other weeds as novel industrial oilseed crops. In: New crops; presented at the second national symposium on new crops: exploration, research and commercialization, Indianapolis, USA. New York, USA: John Wiley and Sons Inc., 384-388.
Clapham AR, 1972. Thlaspi L. In: Tutin TG, Heywood VH, Burges NA, Moore DM, Valentine DH, Walters SM, Webb DA, eds., 1972. Flora Europaea. Volume 1. Lycopodiaceae to Plantanaceae. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 318-319.
Corns W, 1960. Combined effects of gibberellin and 2, 4-D on dormant seeds of Thlaspi arvense. Canadian Journal of Botany, 38:871-874.
Corns W, 1960. Effects of gibberellin treatments on germination of various species of weed seeds. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 40:47-51.
Davis JB; Brown J; Brennan JS; Thill DC, 1996. Potential effect of weed seed contamination on the quality of canola produced in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S.A. Cruciferae Newsletter, No. 18:136-137.
Duvel J, 1905. Vitality of buried seeds. Bureau of Plant Industries, USDA Bulletin No. 83.
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Gleiss W; Bachthaler G, 1988. The significance of weeds as host plants of the sugar-beet nematode Heterodera schachtii Schmitt in weed control according to thresholds. Angewandte Botanik, 62(3-4):193-201
Holm LG; Doll J; Holm E; Pancho JV; Herberger JP, 1997. World Weeds: Natural Histories and Distribution. New York, USA: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Hsiao A, 1980. The effect of sodium hypochlorite, gibberellic acid and light on seed dormancy and germination of stinkweed, Thlaspi arvense and wild mustard, Brassica kaber. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 60:643-650.
Kang BH, 1983. Behaviour, persistence and selectivity of chlorsulfuron in crop plants and weeds. Verhalten und Verbleib sowie Ursachen fur die selektive Wirkung von Chlorsulfuron in Kulturpflanzen und Unkrautern. Univeritat Hohenheim German Federal Republic.
Kirk L; Pavlychenko T; Kossar T; Anderson D, 1941. Report of investigations 1939. Research Laboratory, Plant Ecology. Regina, Canada: University of Saskatchewan.
Koch W, 1967. Germination of weed seeds. Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Phytopathologische Vortragsreihe, 16:1005-1015.
Kolk H, 1947. Studies in germination biology in weeds. Vaxtodling, Plant Husbandry, 2:108-164.
Mani M, 1979. Ecology and Phytogeography of High Altitude Plants of the Northwest Himalaya. New Delhi, India: Oxford and IBH Publishing Co.
McIntyre GI; Best KF, 1975. Studies on the flowering of Thlaspi arvense L. 2. A comparative study of early- and late-flowering strains. Botanical Gazette, 136(2):151-158
Paatela J; Erviö L, 1971. Weed seeds in cultivated soils in Finland. Ann. Agric. Finnae, 10:144-152.
Pallczynski J; Dobrzanski A; Anyszka Z, 1996. The influence of seed bed preparation at night on weed infestation and herbicide efficacy in carrots. In: Proceedings of the Second International Weed Control Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark. Slagelse, Denmark: Department of Weed Control and Pesticide Ecology, 1267-1271.
Pedras MSC; Taylor JL; Morales VM, 1996. The blackleg fungus of rapeseed: how many species? In: Dias JS, Crute I, Monteiro AA, eds. International Symposium on Brassicas. Ninth Crucifers Genetic Workshop, 1994, Lisbon, Portugal. Acta Horticulturae, 407:411-446.
Pelton J, 1956. A study of seed dormancy in eighteen species of high altitude Colorado species. Butler University Botanical Studies (Indiana, USA), 13:74-84.
Polunin N, 1959. Circumpolar Arctic Flora. London, UK: Oxford University Press.
Ridley H, 1930. The Dispersal of Plants throughout the World. Kent, UK: Reeve and Ashford.
Roberts H; Feast P, 1973. Emergence and longevity of seeds of annual weeds in cultivated and undisturbed soil. Journal of Applied Ecology, 10:133-143.
Salisbury E, 1964. Weeds and Aliens. 2nd Edition. London, UK: Collins.
Simonteit T, 1992. DPX-66037 - first experiences with the control of weeds in beet. Zeitschrift fur Pflanzzenkrankheiten unf Pfalnzenschutz, 1992, Sonderheft 13, presented at the 16th German conference on weed biology and control, Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Germany, 615-617.
Smith J, 1917. Weeds of Alberta, Canada. Alberta Department of Agriculture, Bulletin No. 2.
USDA-ARS, 1999. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx
Wahl SA, 1988. Changes in the species composition of the weed flora under differential cropping systems for several years - results of the Lautenbach project. Mitteilungen aus der Biologischen Bundesanstalt fur Land- und Forstwirtschaft Berlin-Dahlem, No. 245:132
Wood A; Robertson M; Kitts W, 1958. Studies on nutritive value of refuse screening I. The essential amino acid content of certain weed seeds. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 38:97-102.
Wright JL; Fay PK; Davis ES, 1992. Postemergence harrowing for weed control in spring wheat and barley. Proceedings of the Western Society of Weed Science, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, 10-13 March 1992., 45:56-59.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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