Neslia paniculata (L.) Desv.- Ballmustard.

Systematic position.

Family Brassicaceae Burnett (Cruciferae Juss.), genus Neslia Desv.

Biological group.

Spring annual weed, able to develop as wintering weed.

Morphology and biology.

Plant is 30-60 cm in height. Stem is upright, branched in upper part, the stem and leaves are covered with short branched hairs. Lower leaves are caducous, entire, oblong, narrowed into short leafstalk; other leaves are lanceolate, sessile, with arrow-shaped base. Flowers are yellow, clustered into dense elongated racemes, petals are inversely-ovate, narrowed into claw, 1.5 times longer than bare sepals. Fruit is nutlet-shaped silicle, indehiscent, unilocular, single-seeded, grey or black-gray. Seeds are ovate-oblong, yellow. This plant flowers in May-July, bears fruits in June-September.


European part of the Former Soviet Union, Caucasus, Western and Eastern Siberia, Central Asia, the Far East (Ussury district and Primorskii Territory). General distribution: Atlantic and Middle Europe, Asia Minor, North America, Africa.


Anthropochore, autochore. This plant prefers nutrient-rich clay and loam soils but might be found on wet, poorly aerated soils. Fruits of this weed mainly fall into harvested cereal grains from which (except millet with seeds of similar shape and size) they are easily separated.

Economic significance.

Neslia paniculata infests winter and spring cereals, especially millet, it is rarely found in tilled crops and perennial grasses. It is also found in fallows, along rail and earth roads and in waste places. It occurs very seldom along banks of rivers and lakes. Seeds of this plant contain up to 20% of oil. It is possible to extract blue dye from leaves. Control measures include shallow plowing with following autumn plowing, presowing soil treatment, harrowing of winter crops, thorough purification of crop seed (especially millet).

Related references.

Lenkov P.V. 1932. Seeds of field weeds from European part of the USSR. Moscow-Leningrad: State Publishing House of Kolkhoz & Sovkhoz Literature. 320 p. (in Russian).
Keller, B.A., ed. 1934. Weed plants of the USSR. V. 3. Leningrad: AN SSSR. 448 p. (in Russian).
Komarov, V.L. & Bush, N.A., eds. 1939. Flora of the USSR. V.8. Moscow-Leningrad: AN SSSR. 696 p. (in Russian).
NAPPO - PRA / Grains Panel Pest Fact Sheet - Neslia paniculata (L.) Desv. 2003. NAPPO: http://www.nappo.org/PRA-sheets/Nesliapaniculata.pdf
Nikitin, V.V. 1983. Weed plants of the USSR flora. Leningrad: Nauka. 454 p. (in Russian).
Visyulina, O.D., ed. 1970. Weeds of Ukraine (reference-identification guide). Kiev: Naukova Dumka. 508 p. (in Ukrainian).

© Larina S.Yu.


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