Scientific Name: Brassica rapa

Common Name: field mustard

Other Common Names: bird's rape, birdsrape mustard, wild mustard, wild rutabaga, wild turnip

Habit: Plants germinate or sprout in fall, are green during the winter, and produce flowers and seed in the spring and early summer. Plants usually die back with summer heat. The stems are erect, 3 ft tall, branched, hairy, and usually bluish-green in color.

Leaves: Leaves are light to medium green, hairy or bristly, stalked, and are 12 to 20 in long. Like most mustards, leaves tend to feel rough due to the stiff hairs on the leaf surface. Leaves are often ravaged by insects and often appear with holes or eaten portions missing.

Identifying Characteristics: The flowers have four petals that form a cross.

Flower Seed Head: Flowers bright yellow; petals 6-10 mm long; those in maturity close together and commonly overtop the unopened buds; outer 2 stamens are much shorter than inner stamens.

Seed Fruit: Fruit is 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 in long with long tapering beak. Seeds are blackish or reddish-brown and 1.5-2 mm in diameter.

Where Found: Found along roadsides and waste areas. A common weed of agricultural fields

  • Life cycle: biennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Brassicaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Leaf shape: lance

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: serrated; wavy

  • Stem hairs: no hairs

  • Flower color: yellow

  • Growth habit: upright and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: has hairs; no hairs

  • Flower diameter: dime

  • Flower symmetry: radial symetery

  • Root structure: taproot

  • Leaf stalk: none