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Vascular Plants of California
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Sisymbrium irio


Higher Taxonomy
Family: Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to shrub; sap pungent, watery. Leaf: generally simple, alternate; generally both basal, cauline; stipules 0. Inflorescence: generally raceme, generally not bracted. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; sepals 4, generally free; petals (0)4, forming a cross, generally white or yellow to purple; stamens generally 6 (2 or 4), 4 long, 2 short (3 pairs of unequal length); ovary 1, superior, generally 2-chambered with septum connecting 2 parietal placentas; style 1, stigma entire or 2-lobed. Fruit: capsule, generally 2-valved, "silique" (length >= 3 × width) or "silicle" (length < 3 × width), dehiscent by 2 valves or indehiscent, cylindric or flat parallel or perpendicular to septum, segmented or not. Seed: 1--many, in 1 or 2 rows per chamber, winged or wingless; embryo strongly curved.
Genera In Family: +- 330 genera, 3780 species: worldwide, especially temperate. Note: Highest diversity in Mediterranean area, mountains of southwestern Asia, adjacent central Asia, western North America; some Brassica species are oil or vegetable crops; Arabidopsis thaliana used in experimental molecular biology; many species are ornamentals, weeds. Aurinia saxatilis (L.) Desvaux in cultivation only. Aubrieta occasional waif in central NCoR, Carrichtera annua (L.) DC. in SCo, Iberis sempervirens L., Iberis umbellata L. in PR, Teesdalia coronopifolia (Bergeret) Thell., Teesdalia nudicaulis (L.) W.T. Aiton in southern NCoRO, CCo. Cardaria, Coronopus moved to Lepidium; Caulostramina to Hesperidanthus; Guillenia to Caulanthus; Heterodraba to Athysanus; California taxa of Lesquerella to Physaria; Malcolmia africana to Strigosella.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: SisymbriumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual [to perennial herb]; hairs simple or 0. Leaf: basal rosetted or not, petioled, simple, entire, dentate, or pinnately lobed; cauline petioled or sessile, base not lobed. Inflorescence: elongated. Flower: sepals erect to spreading, lateral pair generally not sac-like at base, tips horned or not; petals yellow (purple) [white, pink], clawed. Fruit: silique, dehiscent, linear or awl-shaped, cylindric, unsegmented, valves not coiling when fruit dehisces; stigma 2-lobed. Seed: 6--160, in 1 row, wingless.
Etymology: (Greek: for various mustards)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Reference: Warwick & Al-Shehbaz 2003 Novon 13:265--267
Sisymbrium irio L.
Stem: (1)2--6(7.5) dm, erect, glabrous or sparsely hairy at base. Leaf: basal, proximal cauline (1.5)3--12(15) cm, oblanceolate to oblong in outline, pinnately lobed; lateral lobes (1)2--6(8) pairs, entire to dentate or lobed; distal entire or 1--3-lobed. Flower: sepals 2--2.5 mm, not horned; petals 2.5--3.5(4) mm, 1--1.5 mm wide, claw 1--1.5 mm. Fruit: (2.5)3--4(5) cm, 0.9--1.1 mm wide, linear, younger overtopping flowers; style 0.2--0.5 mm; pedicel ascending to spreading, (5)7--12(20) mm, much narrower than fruit. Seed: 40--90, 0.8--1 mm, oblong. Chromosomes: 2n=14.
Ecology: Disturbed areas, fields, pastures; Elevation: < 1700 m. Bioregional Distribution: GV, CCo, SCoR, SW, W&I, D; Distribution Outside California: to Utah, Texas, Baja California, also eastern United States; native to Europe. Flowering Time: Jan--Apr
Jepson eFlora Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Reference: Warwick & Al-Shehbaz 2003 Novon 13:265--267
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
View the CDFA Pest Rating page for Sisymbrium irio
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

Previous taxon: Sisymbrium erysimoides
Next taxon: Sisymbrium loeselii

Botanical illustration including Sisymbrium iriobotanical illustration including Sisymbrium irio

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Citation for this treatment: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz 2012, Sisymbrium irio, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 22, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 22, 2024.

Sisymbrium irio
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©2004 James M. Andre
Sisymbrium irio
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©2008 Thomas Stoughton
Sisymbrium irio
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©2009 Barry Breckling
Sisymbrium irio
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©2009 Thomas Stoughton

More photos of Sisymbrium irio
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Sisymbrium irio:
GV, CCo, SCoR, SW, W&I, D
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map of distribution 1

(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurrence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.

View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month Flowering-Fruiting Monthly Counts

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).