Tall Tumble-mustard
Sisymbrium altissimum L.
Family: Brassicaceae, Mustard
Genus: Sisymbrium
Other names: tall tumbleweed mustard
Nomenclature: altissimum = tallest, highest
Nativity / Invasiveness: introduced plant, weed
Edible plant
Medicinal plant

General: plant height: 30-150 cm tall. Growth habit: erect annual, rather freely branched, especially above, from taproot. Stems: sparsely to fairly heavily covered with stiff, simple hairs near the base but usually hairless above.

Leaves: alternate, broadly lance-shaped or oblong to oblanceolate, up to 1.5 dm long, stalked, the lower ones with sharp, backward teeth to pinnately lobed, becoming pinnately cut into linear segments above.

Flowers: pale yellow, in open, branched clusters, with 4 petals 6-8 mm long and sepals about 4 mm long. May-September.

Fruits: pods linear, little broader than the stalks, 5-10 cm long, cylindrical, spreading, rigid and branchlike. Stalks stout, usually spreading, 4-10 mm long. Valves have a prominent midnerve and evident lateral nerves. Seeds in 1 row, about 1 mm long, slightly slimy when wet.


Common weed on disturbed ground in most parts of MT. Introduced from Europe, now spread across N. America.
Edible Uses

Young leaves and shoots, raw or cooked, of tall tumblemustard, are edible. Having a somewhat hot flavor, they can be used as a flavoring in salads or cooked as a potherb. The seeds can be ground into a powder and used as a gruel or as a mustard-like flavoring in soups etc.

Medicinal Uses

The leaves and flowers have medicinal properties that has been used to cause tissue to contract. They also contain an agent that is effective against scurvy.

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