Clasp leaf Pennycress – Tabouret perfolié
At the moment, this little plant (10-20 cm tall) is in full bloom. It is easy to recognise because of its leaves. You might mistake them at first glance for ‘Shepard’s Purse’, because of the seeds, but once you notice how the leaves clasp the stem, you know you are dealing with a different plant. It has smooth stems with grey-green leaves. The plant has tiny white flowers in clusters. As the plant matures the appearance changes, the top of the plant has the cluster of white flowers, beneath the flowers are rows of heart shaped seed pods. It belongs to the cabbage family (Brassicaceae).
The Thlaspi genus have the ability to absorb zinc and cadmium from contaminated soils (phytoremediata). The whole plant seems to absorb the heavy metals, not just the roots.
As with all plants belonging to the cabbage family, it is rich in Vitamin C and sulphur.
The young leaves are harvested in spring. Added to salads they are crunchy and have a peppery flavour.
Bibliography: Sauvages et comestibles – Marie-Claude Paume; Wikipedia – Thlaspi; Web – Photos