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, biennial; hairs simple or 0
Stem generally erect, branched
Leaves petioled or sessile, variously lobed or dissected, green or glaucous
Inflorescence many-flowered; bracts 0
Flower: sepals erect to ± spreading; petals yellow, clawed
Fruit ascending to erect, linear to ± awl-shaped, generally cylindric, straight to ± curved, hairy or not; valves prominently veined; style conic or 0, stigma 2-lobed
Seeds many, generally 1 row per chamber; margin 0; not or ± gelatinous when wet; embryonic root at back of 1 cotyledon, sometimes obliquely so
Species in genus: ± 90 species: most continents
Etymology: (Greek: for various mustards)


S. officinale L.


Stem 30–80(100) cm, stiff; branches 0 or more often above; hairs spreading or reflexed, sharp
Leaves: basal < 2 dm, oblanceolate, deeply pinnately or irregularly lobed, terminal lobe ± ovate; cauline reduced, generally sessile, lobes narrow
Flower: sepals ± 2 mm, oblong-oblanceolate; petals 3–4 mm, pale yellow
Fruit ascending to erect, appressed or not, 8–15 mm, narrowly awl-like, beaked, tardily dehiscent; pedicel erect to ascending, ± appressed, 2–3 mm, stout, club-shaped; style 1–2 mm
Seed ± 1.3 mm, plump, variable in shape; embryonic root obliquely at back of 1 cotyledon
Chromosomes: 2n=14
Ecology: Disturbed areas, gardens, roadsides
Elevation: < 2200 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province
Distribution outside California: N.America; native to Europe

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