Brassicaceae - Mustard Family
Contents English Names Index
 
Formerly known as the Cruciferae, because it has four petals held open in the shape of a cross, this family includes many important vegetables and agricultural crops. There are over 3000 species throughout the world, but the largest number are from temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Several have bright yellow flowers and can be difficult to distinguish from each other before fruits have formed. Identification therefore often relies on the presence of mature fruits. The fruits may have a "beak" at the end and are often divided internally by a longitudinal partition. For identification purposes, the family is usually divided into those species with fruits more than three times as long as broad (excluding the 'beak'), in which case the fruit is termed a siliqua, and those in which they are less than three times as long as broad, in which case the fruit is referred to as a silicula.
 
 
Guide to Identify Presented Genera and Species for the Mustard Family
FLOWERS PURPLE, FRUITS LONG AND LINEAR
Chorispora - Musk Mustard
Branched annual, flowers about 1 cm wide.
Leaves basal and alternate, shallowly toothed.
Fruit pods curved upward, long, pointed beak.
SLENDER PLANTS, FLOWERS WHITE OR PINK, FRUITS LONG AND LINEAR
Arabis - Rockcress
Slender plants, often hairy, mostly perennials.
Leaves basal and alternate, entire, narrow.
Fruit pods linear, thin, flattened, 2-7 cm long.
Cardamine - Bittercress
Flowers white, about 1 cm wide. Wet locations.
Leaves mostly pinnately or palmately divided.
Fruit pods linear, cylindrical, 20-35 mm long.
FLOWERS WHITE, PINK OR CREAMY, FRUITS SHORT AND FLATTENED
Capsella - Shepherd's Purse
Slender annual, flowers white, about 4 mm wide.
Basal leaves pinnate, stem leaves small, narrow.
Fruit pods triangular, flattened, 4-8 mm long.
Cardaria - Whitetop
Perennials, flowers in wide, dense clusters.
Leaves alternate, oblanceolate, sharp-toothed.
Fruit pods rounded, inflated, about 5 mm long.
Thlaspi - Pennycress
Hairless plants with white flowers c. 1 cm wide.
Leaves alternate, hairless, broadly lance-shaped.
Fruit pods rounded or wedge-shaped, flattened.
FLOWERS WHITE OR YELLOW, FRUITS SHORT AND ELLIPTICAL
Draba
Mostly small, slender mountain plants.
Leaves small, narrow, mostly entire.
Fruit pods lance- or egg-shaped, 6-20 mm long.
FLOWERS WHITE OR YELLOW, FRUITS SHORT, ROUNDED AND FLATTENED
Alyssum - Madwort
Small biennials, flowers yellow, 3-4 mm wide.
Leaves alternate, small, narrow, entire.
Fruit pods rounded, 3-4 mm long, flattened.
Lepidium - Peppergrass
Flowers very small, in dense, tall clusters.
Leaves mostly pinnately cut into narrow lobes.
Fruit pods obovate, short, about 2-3.5 mm long.
FLOWERS YELLOW, FRUITS LONG AND LINEAR
Descurainia pinnata - Tansy-mustard
Slender plants, flowers small, petals narrow.
Leaves deeply cut 2-3 times into narrow lobes.
Fruit pods linear or club-shaped, 10-30 mm long.
Descurainia sophia - Tansy-mustard
Slender plants, flowers small, petals narrow.
Leaves deeply cut 2-3 times into narrow lobes.
Fruit pods linear or club-shaped, 10-30 mm long.
Erysimum - Wallflower
Mostly flat-hairy plants with showy flowers.
Leaves many, alternate, narrowly lance-shaped.
Fruit pods linear, thin, cylindrical, 1-10 cm long.
Sinapis - Mustard
Branching and leafy, flowers 15-20 mm wide.
Leaves lobed, with large ending leaflet.
Fruit pods quite thick, lined, with long beaks.
Sisymbrium altissimum - Tumble-mustard
Plants tall, leafy, branching, flowers often showy.
Leaves alternate and basal, often pinnate.
Fruit pods linear, very thin, 10-30 mm long.
Sisymbrium loeselii - Tumble-mustard
Plants tall, leafy, branching, flowers often showy.
Leaves alternate and basal, often pinnate.
Fruit pods linear, very thin, 10-30 mm long.
Alphabetical listing with links to presented species of the Mustard family:
     
Scientific Name English Name Swedish Name
 

 

 
Alyssum
Arabis
Capsella
Cardamine
Cardaria
Chorispora
Descurainia
Draba
Erysimum
Lepidium
Sinapis
Sisymbrium
Thlaspi
Madwort
Rock Cress
Shepherd's Purse
Bittercress
Whitetop
Musk Mustard
Tansy-mustard
Draba
Wallflower
Peppergrass
Mustard
Tumble-mustard
Pennycress
Stenörter
Travar
-
Lommar
Bräsmor
-
Kardarior
-
-
Stillfrön
Drabor
-
Kårlar
-
Krassingar
-
Senaper
Hamnsenaper
Skärvfrön
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