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Vascular Plants of California
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Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa

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: ErucaView Description 


Etymology: (Latin: perhaps burn, from spicy taste)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Eruca vesicaria (L.) Cav. subsp. sativa (Mill.) Thell.
Habit: Annual, hairs simple or 0. Stem: (1)2--8(10) dm, hairs 0 or reflexed toward base. Leaf: basal petioled, (3)5--20(27) cm, widely oblanceolate, deeply pinnately lobed (dentate); lateral lobes 3--9 pairs, margin entire or dentate; cauline +- sessile, lobed or not. Inflorescence: elongated. Flower: sepals erect, (6)7--10(12) mm, linear to oblong, lateral pair base sac-like; petals (1.2)1.5--2(2.6) cm, (4)5--7(9) mm wide, widely obovate, yellow, veins dark brown to purple. Fruit: silique, (1)1.5--3.5(4) cm, (2.5)3--5 mm wide, linear to oblong or elliptic, dehiscent, segmented; terminal segment (4)5--10(11) mm, sword-like, flattened, seedless; pedicel erect to ascending, 2--8(10) mm. Seed: 10--50, in 2 rows, 1.6--2.5 mm, orange to brown. Chromosomes: 2n=22.
Ecology: Disturbed areas, cultivated fields; Elevation: < 1200 m. Bioregional Distribution: CaR, GV, SCoR, DSon; Distribution Outside California: North America, native to Eurasia. Flowering Time: May--Sep
Synonyms: Eruca sativa Mill.
Jepson eFlora Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa

botanical illustration including Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa


Citation for this treatment: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz 2012, Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on January 30, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on January 30, 2023.

Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa
click for enlargement
© 2013 Neal Kramer
Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa
click for enlargement
© 2010 James M. Andre
Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa
click for enlargement
© 2011 Neal Kramer
Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa
click for enlargement
© 2010 Barry Breckling
Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa
click for enlargement
© 2011 Neal Kramer
Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa
click for enlargement
© 2011 Neal Kramer

More photos of Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa:
CaR, GV, SCoR, DSon
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
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 occurence).


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

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).