Monday, May 20, 2019

Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale)

Hedge Mustard (Vägsenap - Sisymbrium officinale)

So far as I'm aware every plant in the Brassicaceae is more or less edible.

Despite its common name in English (and Swedish), this species isn't in the same genus as any of the three species that are used to make my favourite condiment (Sinapis AlbaBrassica junceaBrassica nigra).

Nor is it in the same genus as the rocket normally eaten in salads (Eruca sativa). But it has been suspected as being the "English rocket" with yellow flowers referred to by some early botanists. The fresh leaves are certainly very good eating.

It's native to Europe and very common; also introduced in the eastern USA.

After six months of unobtrusive greening it suddenly rockets forth in May (though "rocket" in that sense has no etymological connection with the salad rocket). It looks like a completely different plant.

 The flowers are very small but the ever-elongating sickle-shaped flower shoots with appressed fruits are unmistakable.

The winter/spring leaves have quite a distinctive shape: Runcinate with a truncate terminal lobe, if I'm using the terms correctly. The leaves that appear in the upper storey when flowering begins have a very different shape:their terminal lobes are even pointed.

Sisymbrium officinale. Frome, 3 August 2019.

Sisymbrium officinale. Frome, 3 August 2019.

30 June

26 May

26 May

26 May

26 May

20 May

13 May

4 May

4 May

28 April

28 April

22 April

13 April

10 April

12 February

27 December

25 November

17 November
13 November
12 November
21 August

There's a bit of a "second wave" in around August, which is what these photos show. The plants are generally small and have a speeded-up life-cycle, so you can see basal leaves, flowers and fruit all at the same time.

8 August



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