A yellow blooming weed that looks like rapeseed. Field mustard is a honey plant, formerly used for the production of mustard and oil. Wild, non-cultivar seeds.
€1,50 – €3,50
Polish name: field mustard, fiery flower, harsh turnip, pungent turnip
Latin name: Sinapis arvensis
Family: the mustards Brassicaceae (the crucifers Cruciferae)
Status in Poland: introduced to Poland from the Mediterranean basin as far back in the Iron Age, very common, segetal and ruderal species, formerly also useful.
Annual plant with ascending shoots and yellow flowers.
Stem unbranched, or slightly branched only under the inflorescence, bristly hairy, dark green or burgundy, up to 60 cm high.
The shape of the lower leaves differs significantly from the upper ones. The lower leaves are petioled, slightly hairy, lyrate. The upper ones are almost always sessile, bare, with sinuate-toothed blade.
Sulfur yellow flowers with 4 calyx sepals and 5 broadly ovate petals tapering to a claw, clustered in racemes, therefore confusingly similar to wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum), former farmers hardly distinguished between these species. Wild radish differs from wild mustard by contiguous sepals.
The fruit of the field mustard is a quadrangular silique contiguous to the axis of the infructescence, up to 10 mm long, with a flat rostrum 2 or 3 times longer than the valva. Each silique contains dozens of tiny blackish to brownish red seeds with a reticular surface. One specimen of this mustard can produce several thousand seeds.
It grows best in rich, clay, and calcium-rich soil. Avoids barren acidic sands.
Field mustard seeds and seedlings are sensitive to frosts, therefore spring varieties of cereals and rape are overgrown by this weed more easily than winter ones. Besides, its seeds are famous for their extraordinary durability, in soils they can survive up to 35 years, despite their destruction by farmers with herbicides, stubble plowing, appropriate crop rotation, etc.
Field mustard is a great example of a lost crop, i.e. a cultivated plant that has become a weed after abandoning its use.
Formerly, mustard was produced from its seeds (like today from black mustard Brassica nigra or white mustard Sinapis alba), and oil (like from rapeseed Brassica napus var. napus today).
Nowadays, mustard seeds are used to make ecological snail poison.
Unripe inflorescences can be cooked for a salad or soup.
Very good, field mustard is an old melliferous species.