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a genus of plants of the family Cruciferae. They are annual, biennial, or perennial grasses; some are subshrubs. The small flowers are in racemous inflorescences. The petals are white; at times they are absent. The fruit is a silicle with two seeds. There are more than 150 species, distributed throughout the world except for the arctic regions. Approximately 35 species are found in the USSR, primarily in the southern part of the European USSR, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia. These plants generally grow in dry regions. The most common species are dittander (Lepidium latifolium) and the narrow-leaved pepperwort (L. ruderale). Dittander is used for salads and as a spice. Narrow-leaved pepperwort has a strong unpleasant odor and is sometimes used as an insect repellent. Another species that is often cultivated is garden cress (L. sativum).