Lapsana communis (common nipplewort)

Nipplewort leaves

The leaves of Lapsana communis are said to be edible, but I haven’t tried them yet. Picking herbs in the city is not recommended. Because of all the dogs peeing everywhere. Unfortunately it wouldn’t grow in my garden because the soil was too sandy and dry.

Lapsana communis in March
Lapsana communis in March.

Habit and biology

Common nipplewort is an annual or biennial. Here in the region we have long summers and mild winters. This allows its seeds to germinate as early as autumn.

Young nipplewort plants in October
Young nipplewort plants in October.

Depending on where it grows, Lapsana communis can reach a height of one metre or more. Flowering can last from June to September.

Origin & habitats

Nipplewort by the roadside
Nipplewort by the roadside.

Lapsana communis grows in shaded to sunny areas. It can be found in parks, gardens, woods, in front of bushes or hedges and along roadsides.

The original distribution area is in Eurasia and North Africa. As an introduced species it is also found in North America and other regions (source).


Lapsana communis belongs to the subfamily Cichorioideae within the Compositae family (Asteraceae). It is closely related to lettuce, endive, black salsify and other common vegetables.

Flowering nipplewort by the roadside
Flowering nipplewort by the roadside in may.