Sinapis alba L. - White mustard.

Taxonomic position.

Family: Brassicaceae; genus: Sinapis L.

Morphology and biology.

Annual plant. Stem is 25-100 cm high; more frequently covered with declinate stiff bristly hairs, but sometimes almost naked. Bottom leaves are lyre-shaped and pinnately cut; upper lobe is ovate, consisting of three lobules; there are 2-3 pairs of lateral lobes. Upper leaves have shorter stalks and fewer lobes, which are contoured more acutely. Bottom leaves rarely tend to be divided into narrow segments. All leaves are coarsely pilose, less frequently almost naked. Stalk is 1.5 times shorter than the tip. Pedicels under fruit are horizontally deflected, 0.8-1.3 cm long. Follicles are straight or curved, rough, torulose, usually covered by coarse squarrose hairs, 2-4 cm long, with a flat sword-like beak equal in length to the valves or longer. Sometimes follicles have very short valves and contain 1-2 seeds. Seed are whitish-yellow. Blossoms in June; bears fruit in August. Entomophilous. 2n=24.


General distribution: all over Europe, except northern areas; Northern Africa. Within the ex-USSR: European part up to 65 degrees N. Lat. (more often in black soil areas: Lower Volga, Upper Volga and Crimea); Caucasus (Ante-Caucasian steppes); Western Siberia (agricultural areas, very infrequent); Middle Asia (Tien Shan foothills, very infrequent).


In crops, on riverbanks, along roads and in wastelands.

Utilization and economic value.

For food; occasionally for oil (35-37% in seed). Also for feed: young fresh plants are used as forage for cattle. Weedy in crops.

Reference citations:

Bush, N.A., ed. 1939. Flora USSR. Cruciferae. Moscow-Leningrad. V.8: 468-469. (In Russian)
Cherepanov S.K. 1995. Plantae Vasculares Rossicae et Civitatum Collimitanearum (in limicis USSR olim). St. Petersburg: Mir I Semia. 990 pp. (In Russian)
Dorofeev V.I. 1998. Family Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) middle Zone of an Europaean part of Russian Federation. Turchaninowia, Barnaul, 1(3): 94. (In Russian)
Dorofeev V.I. 2002. Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) of Europaean Russia. Turchaninowia, Barnaul, 5(3): 115. (In Russian)
Grossgeim, A.A. 1950. Flora of Caucasia. Moscow-Leningrad. V.4: 169. (In Russian)
Harkevitch S.S., ed. 1988. Vascular plants of the Soviet Far East. Leningrad: Nauka. V.3: 77-79. (In Russian)
Tsvelev N.N. 2000. Manual of the vascular plants of North-West Russia (Determinant)(Leningrad, Pskov and Novgorod district). St. Petersburg: Publishing House of SPHFA. 781 pp. (In Russian)

© Smekalova, T.N.


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