Plant Image
Flower head

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Brassica nigra - black mustard

Synonyms: Sinapis nigra
Other Common Names: shortpod mustard, (Spanish: mostaza)
Plant Form: Forb

Family: Brassicaceae

line decor
  Home   Plant Communities Plant List Search Forbs Search Grasses Search Woody Plants Additional Resources About this Website
line decor

Click on Any Image for a Larger View

Max Licher @
Flower head
Max Licher @
Max Licher @
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Introduced   Life Cycle: Annual   Similar Species: Brassica junecea
General Desc: Annual weedy plant with erect stems that are branched above. Rapidly taking over in some areas of Arizona. Believed to be a native of the Mediterranean region.
Identification notes: B. nigra and B. juncea are the only two Brassica species without leaves that are clasping at the base. B. juncea is otherwise similar, but it is hairless and covered with a waxy coating (glaucous).
Height: 2 to 8 feet


Habitat Description: Widespread in north America where it infests cultivated fields and disturbed roadsides.
Plant Communities: Disturbed Areas
Elevation: Below 5000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Yellow     Shape: Regular not in clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: May - Oct
Description: The flowers are small and have four petals. They are bisexual and their flowering period may start as early as April at lower latitudes.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Round or oval     Leaf Margin: Toothed     Leaf Attachment: Basal and alternate     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: Leaves and stems     Spines: N
Leaf Description: The lower leaves of the plant are lobed while the upper leaves are toothed. The stem is erect and branched distally. It has a dense covering of stiff hairs on the lower portions, but is generally smooth on the upper stems.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Dark brown to black   
Fruit Type: Pod
Fruit Notes: Seed pods are 4/10 to 1 inch long. The pods have a conspicuous, constricted beak above the uppermost seed.
Seed Notes: The seeds are commonly used as a spice in many cultures.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
Content Questions/Comments: Email Jeff Schalau  
Legal Disclaimer