Veronicastrum virginicum

Culver’s Root, Veronicastrum virginicum also known as Perennial Pepperweed is a medicinal and food plant. An infusion of the plant has been used to treat liver and kidney diseases and a skin disease. Roots can be prepared as a substitute for horseradish. Seeds have been used as a condiment.

The genus name, a combination of Veronica and the suffix astrum (“false”), describes this plant’s resemblance to the Veronicas. It is the only species in the genus. It can be grown easily in wildflower gardens. The root contains a powerful emetic and cathartic. The common name was to honor Dr. Culver who prescribed the plant as an effective laxative.

Virginia pepperweed is a member of the mustard family and is edible by humans. The young leaves, which contain protein and vitamins A and C, can be added to salads or sauteed; the seeds can be used as a substitute for black pepper.


SPECS: Native Name: Algonquin; Genus: Veronicastrum ; Species: Virginicum; Plant Type: Herb; Life Cycle: Perennial; Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade; Soil Moisture: Mesic (middle), Well Drained; Height: 5′ — 6′; Spread: 2′; Plant Spacing: 2′ — 3′; Bloom Time: June — September; Bloom Color: Pink, White; Advantages: Low maintenance; USDA Zone: 3 — 8; Attracts: Beeflies, Beneficial insects, Bumblebees, Carpenter bees, Honey bees, Sweat bees; Tolerant: Clay, Heat & humidity; Plant Community: Goes well with Perennials, including Coneflowers, Joe Pye Weed, Goldenrod, Rudbeckias, Salvias, Nepetas, Monardas and Phlox are good companions;