Down Garden Services



Scientific Name: Lapsana communis
Other name: Dock-cress
Family: Asteraceae

Annual, which germinates early from March to May and again in the autumn, these overwinter as basal rosettes until the following year. The first leaves have a distinctive lobe at the tips and have been eaten in salads - they exude a milky sap, similar to Dandelions. Later a flower stem can reach 75 cm. At this stage the basal leaves are tough and more bitter.
The yellow flowers open from nipple-shaped buds borne on a branched stem between June and September. There are five petals, each one is squared at the tip with a serrated edge.
The shape of the buds gave rise to the use of Nipplewort to treat breast tumours and to allay soreness during breast-feeding.

It is easily uprooted so hoeing or hand pulling is the easiest way to control this weed in the garden before it can set seed, preferably at the seedling or rosette stages. The seed are not very persistent and the germination rate declines greatly in a few years provided the plants are not allowed to produce more.

Weedkillers to use:-
A contact herbicide such as Paraquat will knock down the early stages and a residual acting product should prevent emergence in suitable areas.

The basal leaves are similar to the juvenile leaves of Sow Thistles, but they do not have the toothed edge of the latter and have fine hairs.

picture of Nipplewort/TD>

Follow these links for further details on Weeds, Weed Removal and Weed Prevention.