Lapsana communis (Common Nipplewort)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual
Origin:Europe, Asia
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, shade; roadsides, waste areas
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:1 to 4 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Yellow dandelion type flower heads on long slender stalks in an airy panicle on many branching stems. Each flower is ¼ to ½ inch across and has 8 to 20 ray flowers (petals), with 5 teeth at the tip, and several styles split near the tip. Bracts are smooth and narrow.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are 1 to 4 inches long, ¾ to 2½ inches wide, sparsely hairy especially along veins on the underside, with irregular, shallow teeth and slightly wavy edges. Lower leaves are generally egg-shaped with a pair of distinct small lobes at the base, on long, hairy, slightly winged stalks. Leaves near the flowers are smaller, sparse, less toothed, unlobed and more lance-like, with little or no leaf stalk. Stems are bristly hairy near the base, becoming smooth in the upper plant.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of developing fruit] Fruit is a ribbed seed about 1/8 inch long, tan to golden brown at maturity, lacking a tuft of hairs.


Nipplewort has become widely cosmopolitan throughout the Americas and Asia due to human activity. A sporadic weed of cultivated gardens and disturbed areas, it does not encroach readily into high grade habitats and is likely under reported within Minnesota.

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More photos

Photos by Peter M. Dziuk in Anoka county.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Lexi - Sherburne County
on: 2011-06-23 13:09:27

Found 5 or 6 plants in my yard in an area we haven't cut the grass for a while. We live in a sandy soil area, and have lots of oaks.

Posted by: John v - Fillmore Co.?
on: 2024-01-06 20:46:44

There is a population of nipplewort along a gravel roadside in central Winneshiek County in far northeastern Iowa, so it seems reasonable to guess the plant may inhabit the adjacent counties in Minnesota (Fillmore, Houston, etc.), although I don't have an actual record of it in those counties.

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