Scientific Name: Sinapis arvensis
- Order: Brassicales
- Family: Brassicaceae
- Genus: Sinapis
- Species: S. arvensis
Delicious and healthy, wild mustard is part of the family containing common vegetables such as broccoli, turnips, and kale (and sweet alyssum!). On the other hand, cattle ranchers often see this plant as a threat. To cows, wild mustard can be poisonous, because it irritates the cows’ stomachs. When consumed by dairy cows, the mustard’s strong taste also affects the milk produced. Furthermore, this plant reseeds itself, meaning that when its seeds get scattered by wind or animals, it will sprout up. This causes wild mustard plants to pop up in unexpected places and spread very fast. In fact, this kind of mustard can even be seen at the North Pole and on Greenland, as well as nearly everywhere else on Earth.
Also called charlock mustard, Sinapis arvensis displays its clusters of four-petaled yellow flowers on stems that sometimes branch off and can reach up to two or three feet tall. Interestingly enough, the stem can be a purplish color in some parts. Wild mustard is also both frost and drought tolerant.
Caution: be aware of mustard allergies and do not use if you are sensitive to wild mustard.
Consumable: The leaves, flowers, and seeds all have culinary uses. Wild mustard’s fresh green leaves can be cooked or made into salads, and the flowers can be boiled or used as garnishes. In addition, wild mustard seeds are sometimes dried and ground into spices or pressed for mustard oil. The seeds are not hard to find — one plant can produce thousands of seeds in just one season!
Medicinal: Wild mustard contains many minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful to the heart, immune system, and digestion. Externally, a paste can also be made out of ground mustard seeds for wounds.