Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Reed C. Rollins, except as specified

Annual to subshrub
Leaves generally basal and cauline, alternate, generally simple; stipules 0
Inflorescence: generally raceme
Flower bisexual; sepals 4, free; petals (0)4, free, generally white or yellow, often clawed; stamens generally (2,4)6, generally 4 long, 2 short; ovary 1, superior, chambers generally 2, septum membranous, connecting 2 parietal placentas, style 1, stigma simple or 2-lobed
Fruit: generally capsule ("silique") with 2 deciduous valves, sometimes breaking transversely or indehiscent
Seeds 1–many per chamber
Genera in family: 300+ genera, 3000+ species: worldwide, especially cool regions; some cultivated for food (especially Brassica, Raphanus ) and ornamental
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated to include Capparaceae [Rodman et al. 1993 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 80:686–699; Rollins 1993 Cruciferae of Continental North America. Stanford Univ Press]
Family description, key to genera by Robert A. Price.


Annual, rarely per; hairs 0 or simple, reflexed or spreading
Stem erect, leafy, ± branched
Leaves: basal not rosetted, petioled, pinnately lobed or not, terminal lobe > lateral; upper cauline reduced, sessile, base tapered
Inflorescence terminal, not flat-topped, elongate in fruit; bracts 0
Flower: sepals spreading, yellowish, bases not sac-like; petals yellow to pale yellow
Fruit cylindric to angled or ± flat, hairy or not; beak prominent
Seeds 1 row per chamber, spheric; wing 0
Species in genus: 6 species: Medit, Eurasia
Etymology: (Latin: mustard, from flavor of seeds)


S. alba L.


Annual 2–6 dm; hairs ± sharp, bristle-like, rarely 0
Leaves: lower pinnately lobed, 1–2 dm, terminal lobe > lateral, coarsely dentate
Flower: petals 8–11 mm, pale yellow to whitish
Fruit 20–30 mm, narrowed between seeds or not, few-seeded
Seed pale yellow
Chromosomes: 2n=24
Ecology: Fields, orchards, disturbed areas
Elevation: < 1000 m.
Bioregional distribution: Central Coast, South Coast, expected elsewhere
Distribution outside California: native to Eurasia
Synonyms: Brassica hirta Moench

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