A foetid, hairless annual plant, growing up to 60 cm (24 in) tall,:421 with upright branches. The stem leaves are arrow-shaped, narrow and toothed. It blooms between May and July, with clusters of small white flowers. They have 4 sepals and 4 longer petals. Later it has round, flat, winged pods with a deep apical notch,:421 measuring 1–1 cm (0.39–0.39 in)across. They contain small brown-black seeds.
It is native to temperate regions of Eurasia, but is a naturalized introduced species throughout temperate North America and therefore has a circumpolar distribution. In the British Isles it is regarded as an archaeophyte (an ancient introduction).
Field pennycress is a weed of cultivated land and wasteland.
Use as a source of biodiesel
Pennycress is being developed as an oilseed crop for production of renewable fuels. The species can be planted in the fall, will germinate and form a vegetative mass which can overwinter. In the spring, the oil-rich seed can be harvested and used as a biodiesel feedstock.
Pennycress is related to the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. Researchers have begun studying the genetics of pennycress in order to improve its potential use as a biofuel crop. For example, the transcriptome of pennycress has been sequenced.
- "Thlaspi arvensis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- Stace, C. A. (2010). New Flora of the British Isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521707725.
- Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain. Reader's Digest. 1981. p. 53. ISBN 9780276002175.
- "Online Atlas of the British & Irish flora: Thlaspi arvense, Field pennycress". London, U.K.: Biological Records Centre and Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
- "Field Pennycress Thlaspi arvense". ediblewildfood.com. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
- Arvegenix LLC website
- Field pennycress shows feedstock potential
- De novo assembly of the pennycress (Thlaspi arvense) transcriptome provides tools for the development of a winter cover crop and biodiesel feedstock. Kevin M. Dorn, Johnathon D. Fankhauser, Donald L. Wyse, M. David Marks. The Plant Journal. doi:10.1111/tpj.12267