|6 Plum Island Turnpike
What is Perennial Pepperweed?
Perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) is an invasive plant native to Eurasia that was first introduced to the western coast of the United States in the 1930s. It has since become an extensive problem on the west coast, infiltrating roadsides, riversides, and pasture lands and has recently been spreading in New England.
Like all invasive species, pepperweed has become a problem because it has no natural enemies in this area and can therefore grow unchecked. After just a few seasons it can form dense, monoculture stands that consume valuable water and nutrient sources for our native saltmarsh plants. Pepperweed has an extensive, hardy root system that can regrow from tiny fragments. The plant also produces an abundance of seeds that float in the water, spreading it along the coast.
Here at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge we have already begun to contain pepperweed through herbicide application and manual pulling. Thousands of pounds of pepperweed have been pulled, but it still exists on the Refuge and along the Plum Island Turnpike. Due to the labor-intensive work of pulling the plant, volunteers are needed to help identify and pull pepperweed. We hope to see you at one of our many training sessions and pulls, helping to save our beautiful and fragile marshlands.
This project is supported through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Challenge Cost Share program.