HOARY MUSTARD

Hirschfeldia incana

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8yellow
inner
inner8cream
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
stem
stem8round
sex
sexZbisexual

Photo: © RWD
A tall 50cm to 1.3m and sometimes upright plant (see images below) but often rather spreading as here.


Photo: © RWD
Like many others, it has small ball-like clusters of yellow flowers at the ends of each branch.


Photo: © RWD
The stems have only a few scattered leaves as here; most leaves are in a basal rosette at ground level (see below).


Photo: © RWD
This small cluster of upright specimens is showing its glaucous-green hoary stems and basal rosette(s). The plant spreads by underground runners into much broader displays.


Photo: © RWD
Sprawling near the ground in this specimen, the flowers are pale yellow with rather large petals between 5 amd 10mm long.


Photo: © RWD
Flower buds mostly yet to open. The hoariness of the stem is the result of a plethora of very short white hairs.


Photo: © RWD
The stem is hoary with short or tiny downwardly-directed hairs.


Photo: © RWD
The four pale-green long sepals around the lower half of the flower are held upwardly directed.


Photo: © RWD
There are 6 stamens per flower, four forming a square around the central style with discoidal stigma, and two other shorter anthers outside the square opposite each other.


Photo: © RWD


Photo: © RWD
The flowers are always in a small globular cluster at the top of the stems; lower down are the leftovers of the flowers: the developing seed pods, which are at first thin and short and in three parts (top). Lower down are more mature and slightly fatter pods.


Photo: © RWD
The first part of the pod is the flower stalk with a constriction at the top which leads on to a fatter postrion containing the developing seeds, followed by another naroower section leading on to the remains of the style which tapers to the flat stigma atop. The shape of the whole of this 'pod' is an identifying feature of Hoary Mustard.


Photo: © RWD
Sometimes the 3 sections on the seed pod are not very distinct.


Photo: © RWD
The bottom section of the seed pod joins onto a stem and runs a short distance down the stem merging itself with it.


Photo: © RWD
Ripe seed pods along the now extended but fawn-coloured stems.


Photo: © RWD
Ripe seed pods.


Photo: © RWD
Some leaves near the top of the plant.


Photo: © RWD
Neat basal rosettes of a small cluster of the plants. The end lobe is by far the largest. There may be smaller alternate or opposite lobes further down the leaf stalk. Here the leaves are also glaucous.


Photo: © RWD
The basal rosettes of several main stems clustered together - your Author can count 13 in this photo! Here the leaves are not as glaucous as the above specimen.


Easily confused with : Flower () [plants with similar names belonging to differing families]

Not to be semantically confused with : Swiss Treacle-mustard Erysimium rhaeticum, Spreading Treacle-mustard Erysimiumrepandum, Ball Mustard (Neslia paniculata), Tower Mustard (Turritis glabra), Hare's-ear Mustard (Conringia orientalis), Chinese Mustard (Brassica juncea), Black Mustard (Brassica nigra), White Mustard (Sinapi alba), Treacle Mustard (Erysimum cheiranthoides), Russian Mustard (Sisymbrium volgense), Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), Horned Mustard (Sisymbrium polyceratium), Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) [plants with similar names and probably similar hot taste but in differing genera of the Brassicacea family]

Easily mistaken for : Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale) but that often has stems with branches that either splay out at an angle often with the end third being almost bolt upright. The seed pods differing in being shorter and thin but like Hoary Mustard held close to the stem.

Some similarities to : Charlock (Sinapis arvensis) but that is usually shorter at 20 to 100cm tall and both leaves and stems usually have bristly hairs. Beware: the leaves of Charlock are immensely variable!

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : see captions re seed pods.

No relation to : Flower () [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

All alone in the Hirschfeldia genus (at least in the UK - your Author doesn't know about the rest of the world).


  Hirschfeldia incana  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Brassicaceae  

Distribution
 family8Cabbage family8Brassicaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Hirschfeldia
Hirschfeldia
(Hoary Mustard)

HOARY MUSTARD

Hirschfeldia incana

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]