Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Brassica nigra
(black mustard)

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Datasheet

Brassica nigra (black mustard)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 08 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Brassica nigra
  • Preferred Common Name
  • black mustard
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Brassica nigra is a mustard whose exact native range is uncertain but which is probably native to northern Africa, western and central Asia, and parts of Europe. It is widely cultivated, and has become naturali...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowering habit. Aapuea Pkwy, Kulamalu Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
TitleHabit
CaptionBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowering habit. Aapuea Pkwy, Kulamalu Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowering habit. Aapuea Pkwy, Kulamalu Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
HabitBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowering habit. Aapuea Pkwy, Kulamalu Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowering habit. Aapuea Pkwy, Kulamalu Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
TitleHabit
CaptionBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowering habit. Aapuea Pkwy, Kulamalu Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowering habit. Aapuea Pkwy, Kulamalu Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
HabitBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowering habit. Aapuea Pkwy, Kulamalu Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); small plant, flowering. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); small plant, flowering. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); small plant, flowering. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
HabitBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); small plant, flowering. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); small plant, flowering. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); small plant, flowering. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); small plant, flowering. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
HabitBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); small plant, flowering. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowers. Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March, 2007.
TitleFlowers
CaptionBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowers. Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March, 2007.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowers. Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March, 2007.
FlowersBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); flowers. Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March, 2007.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); close view of flowers. Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March, 2011.
TitleFlowers
CaptionBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); close view of flowers. Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March, 2011.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); close view of flowers. Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March, 2011.
FlowersBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); close view of flowers. Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March, 2011.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); close-up of flowers. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
TitleFlowers
CaptionBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); close-up of flowers. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); close-up of flowers. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
FlowersBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); close-up of flowers. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); seedheads. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
TitleSeedheads
CaptionBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); seedheads. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); seedheads. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
SeedheadsBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); seedheads. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); ripe seedheads. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
TitleSeedheads
CaptionBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); ripe seedheads. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); ripe seedheads. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
SeedheadsBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); ripe seedheads. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); leaves. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
TitleLeaves
CaptionBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); leaves. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); leaves. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
LeavesBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); leaves. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); seedpods, with Laysan albatross. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
TitleInvasive habit
CaptionBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); seedpods, with Laysan albatross. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Brassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); seedpods, with Laysan albatross. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.
Invasive habitBrassica nigra (black mustard, makeke); seedpods, with Laysan albatross. Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June, 2008.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Brassica nigra (L.) W.D.J. Koch

Preferred Common Name

  • black mustard

Other Scientific Names

  • Brassica sinapoides Roth (1830)
  • Sinapis incana Thuill.
  • Sinapis nigra L. (1753)
  • Sisymbrium nigrum (L.) Prantl (1884)

International Common Names

  • English: brown mustard; mustard (black); mustard (brown); mustard (red); red mustard
  • Spanish: mostaza negra
  • French: moutarde noire
  • Portuguese: mostarda-negra

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Schwarzer Senf; Senf- Kohl; Senfkohl
  • Italy: senape nera
  • Netherlands: zwarte Mosterd
  • Philippines: mustasa
  • Sweden: svartsenap

EPPO code

  • BRSNI (Brassica nigra)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Brassica nigra is a mustard whose exact native range is uncertain but which is probably native to northern Africa, western and central Asia, and parts of Europe. It is widely cultivated, and has become naturalised in other parts of these continents as well as Australasia and the Americas. In California it is widespread and has invaded shrublands, grasslands, and riparian areas; it is listed as having a Moderate overall invasiveness score by the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC, 2004). It is listed as a noxious weed in Michigan and as a noxious weed seed in several other US states (USDA-ARS, 2013). It is listed as invasive in New Zealand, Hawaii and the off-shore islands of Chile (Encyclopedia of Life, 2013).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Capparidales
  •                         Family: Brassicaceae
  •                             Genus: Brassica
  •                                 Species: Brassica nigra

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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There is some confusion in the literature about mustards. Botanically, four species are involved:

- Brassica carinata A. Braun: Abyssinian or Ethiopian mustard, gommenzer, 2n = 34, BBCC genome. Only known as a cultivated plant from the highlands of Ethiopia and northern Kenya; rarely used outside those areas.

- Brassica juncea (L.) Czernjaew: brown or Indian mustard, 2n = 36, AABB genome.

- Brassica nigra: black mustard, 2n = 16, BB genome. One of the 3 basic diploid cultivated Brassica species in the famous Brassica triangle -- B. nigra (2n = 16, BB genome), B. oleracea L. (2n = 18, CC genome) and B. rapa L. (2n = 20, AA genome) -- from which many Brassica crops are derived.

- Sinapis alba L.: white mustard, 2n = 24, SS genome. It and B. juncea are now the 2 most important mustard species.

Brassica L. and Sinapis L. are closely related and difficult to distinguish. Some easily recognizable differences are that Sinapis has pale green leaves, petals with short claws and fruits with bristles, whereas Brassica often has grey-green leaves, petals with larger claws and smooth fruits.

Description

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A much branched annual herb 0.5-1.5 m tall, with a firm taproot. Stem erect, terete, up to 1.5 cm in diameter, glabrous or bristly hairy, green or slightly glaucous. Leaves rather variable, petiolate, in a rosette and large in young plants, alternating and becoming gradually smaller further up the stem; lower leaves large, up to 16 cm x 5 cm, pinnatifid or pinnatilobed, usually with 2 lower lobes and a much larger terminal lobe, central leaves moderately lobed; lower and central leaves irregularly dentate and often partly bristly hairy; uppermost leaves narrow-lanceolate, small, entire, glabrous. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, bractless racemes, all together arranged paniculately; flowers bisexual, up to 8 mm long, 4-merous, bright yellow, on short pedicel; sepals 4, narrowly elliptical, 3-4 mm x 1.5 mm, spreading horizontally; petals 4, clawed-obovate, 6-8 mm x 2 2.5 mm; stamens 6, outer whorl of 2 shorter, inner whorl of 4 longer ones; pistil slightly shorter than longest stamens, with sessile, superior, elongated ovary and a style ending in a semi-globose stigma. Fruit a silique, 4-sided with rather flat sides, up to 2.5 cm long, with a short beak at apex, erect and closely appressed to the inflorescence axis, containing 4-10 seeds, dehiscing when ripe. Seed globose, about 1 mm in diameter, black to red-brown, minutely pitted. Seedling with epigeal germination.

Plant Type

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Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Seed propagated

Distribution

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B. nigra most probably originated in the Asia Minor-Iran area, but at present it occurs wild in the Mediterranean region, throughout central Europe, in the Middle East and in the Ethiopian highlands. It is widely cultivated and has been introduced to other parts of its native continents as well as Australasia and the Americas (USDA-ARS, 2013). Its shattering fruits make it unsuitable for large-scale, mechanized cultivation, so it has largely been substituted by brown or Indian mustard (B. juncea (L.) Czernjaew).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

AfghanistanPresentNativeGBIF, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
ArmeniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
AzerbaijanPresentGBIF, 2013
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-GansuPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-JiangsuPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-QinghaiPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-TibetPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-XinjiangPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
IndiaPresentGBIF, 2013
IranPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
IraqPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
IsraelPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
JapanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
KazakhstanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
LebanonPresentNativeEuro+Med, 2012
PakistanPresentGBIF, 2013
SyriaPresentNativeEuro+Med, 2012
TurkeyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
VietnamPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNativeGBIF, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
Cape VerdePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
EgyptPresentNativeEuro+Med, 2012
EritreaPresentNativeGBIF, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
EthiopiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
LibyaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
MoroccoPresentNativeGBIF, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
South AfricaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
TunisiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013

North America

CanadaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlbertaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-ManitobaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New BrunswickPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-Newfoundland and LabradorPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-Nova ScotiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-OntarioPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-Prince Edward IslandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-QuebecPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-SaskatchewanPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
MexicoPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-CaliforniaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Cal-IPC, California Invasive Plant Council; USDA-NRCS, 2013Moderately invasive
-ColoradoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-ConnecticutPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-DelawarePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-District of ColumbiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-FloridaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-IdahoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-IllinoisPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-IndianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-IowaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-KansasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-KentuckyPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MainePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MarylandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MassachusettsPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MichiganPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MinnesotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MississippiPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MissouriPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MontanaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-NebraskaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-NevadaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New HampshirePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New JerseyPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New MexicoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New YorkPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-North DakotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-OhioPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-OklahomaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-OregonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-Rhode IslandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-South DakotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-TennesseePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-UtahPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-VermontPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-WashingtonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-West VirginiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-WisconsinPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2013

Central America and Caribbean

GuatemalaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
Turks and Caicos IslandsPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
BoliviaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013
BrazilPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013
ChilePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
ColombiaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013
EcuadorPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
ParaguayPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013
PeruPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
SurinamePresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
AustriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
BelarusPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
BelgiumPresentNativeEuro+Med, 2012
Bosnia-HercegovinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
BulgariaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
CroatiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
CyprusPresentNativeEuro+Med, 2012
Czech RepublicPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
DenmarkPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
EstoniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
FinlandPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013
FrancePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-CorsicaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
GermanyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
GreecePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
HungaryPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
IrelandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
ItalyPresentNativeEuro+Med, 2012
LatviaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
LithuaniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
LuxembourgPresentNativeEuro+Med, 2012
MacedoniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
MoldovaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
MontenegroPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
NetherlandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
NorwayPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013In south
PolandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
PortugalPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
-AzoresPresentIntroducedEuro+Med, 2012
-MadeiraPresentNativeEuro+Med, 2012
RomaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Russian FederationPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Southern RussiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
SerbiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
SlovakiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
SpainPresentNativeEuro+Med, 2012
SwedenPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013In south
SwitzerlandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
UKPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
UkrainePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Invasive Encyclopedia of Life, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
US Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013Midway Atoll

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of local spread is high as a result of seed dehiscence (Hayashi et al., 2010) but that of long distance spread is low to moderate due to the lack of known natural long distance dispersers. In the United States the only state to list B. nigra as a noxious weed is Michigan, although some others list it as a noxious-weed seed (USDA-ARS, 2013).

Habitat

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B. nigra is a disturbance-following weed; in California it occurs in habitat openings caused by natural disturbances, roads, urban developments, agricultural fields, etc. (Cal-IPC, 2004). It can be found growing wild in a variety of plant communities but in southern California it is restricted to coastal regions with higher soil moisture and is replaced inland by more drought-tolerant exotic mustards (K. Palenscar, formerly of Department of Botany and Plant Science, University of California, Riverside, California, USA, personal communication, 2013).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Scrub / shrublands Principal habitat Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

B. nigra is one of the 3 basic diploid cultivated Brassica species in the famous Brassica triangle: 2n = 16, BB genome.

Germplasm collections are available at the national gene banks of India, the USA, Canada and the Netherlands.

Reproductive Biology

B. nigra is cross-fertilizing. Pollination is by insects, for example various bee species and pollen beetles such as Meligethes spp. Seeds germinate soon after the first rains, or after sowing when the plant is grown as a crop. It is reported that the species can establish itself from the soil seedbank after a 40-year fire interval (Cal-IPC, 2004).

Physiology, Phenology, Growth and Development

The first leaves are usually visible within 48 hours. Early growth is very rapid. Flower initiation may start as early as 2 weeks after germination, but usually occurs after 4-6 weeks. Fruit maturation takes another 4-8 weeks. The crop is ready for harvesting 40-100 days after sowing. Fruit ripening starts at the base of the plants and proceeds upwards.

When B. nigra is grown as a crop, natural selection for earliness amongst volunteer plants may cause it to develop as a troublesome weed.

When grown in a common garden experiment, invasive populations of B. nigra grew taller, were more massive, and produced lighter seeds than native populations of B. nigra independent of herbivory pressure (Oduor et al. 2011). This research supports the idea of post-introduction rapid evolution of plant traits in B. nigra which has created more invasive plants in novel environments.

Environmental Requirements

B. nigra is adapted to a range of temperate and subtropical climates, but is unsuited to wet tropical lowlands. It tolerates annual rainfall of 300-1700 mm, but is grown chiefly as a rainfed crop in areas of low to moderate rainfall. The reported range of average annual temperatures that it tolerates is 6-27°C, and that of pH is 4.9-8.2. While suited to many soils except heavy clays, black mustard grows best on light sandy loams or deep rich fertile soils (Center for New Crops & Plant Products, 2013).

Properties

Cruciferous plants are characterized by a range of glucosinolates or mustard-oil glucosides contained in the seeds and other tissues. Also occurring in the tissues is the enzyme myrosinase, which, in the presence of watery substances, splits glucosinolates into volatile or oily isothiocyanates and glucose. The glucosinolate of B. nigra, called sinigrin, releases the aggressive, volatile allyl isothiocyanate which is responsible for the pungent taste of black mustard; it is also a strong irritant of the mucous membranes and skin, and is used in dog and cat repellents.

The glucosinolate content of the seed varies from 110-140 micro-mol/g. Per 100 g edible portion seeds contain: water 8 g, protein 29 g, fat 28 g, carbohydrates 19 g, fibre 11 g and ash 5 g (Ca 0.4 g, P 0.6 g, Fe 21 mg), beta-carotene equivalent 0.6 g, thiamine 0.4 mg, riboflavin 0.31 mg, and niacin 7.3 mg. Since the whole seed is used, condiment mustard is in fact quite a complete and nutritious food. The many medicinal properties should therefore not always solely be attributed to the quite overwhelming action of the isothiocyanates. The 1000-seed weight is 2-4 g.

Adulterations and Substitutes

Brown mustard (B. juncea) has largely taken the place of B. nigra for the production of condiment mustard. B. juncea (2n = 36) is an allotetraploid species containing the BB genome of B. nigra in addition to the AA genome of B. rapa L.; it also produces the glucosinolate sinigrin characteristic of B. nigra. In Asia B. juncea is most important as a vegetable and oilseed crop.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Df - Continental climate, wet all year Tolerated Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Preferred Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
60 40

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 6 27
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 43.9
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) -1.7

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration10number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall3001700mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Notes on Natural Enemies

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B. nigra is affected by a range of insects, nematodes, fungi, bacteria and viruses, many of which can be pests when it is grown as a crop. Possible diseases include black leaf rot (Alternaria brassicae) and stem rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum). Insect pests include seed-pod weevils (Ceutorhynchus spp.), flea beetles (Phyllotreta spp.) and aphids (for example Brevicoryne brassicae). Birds can cause havoc in ripening crops.

In California, B. nigra may be declining where Hirschfeldia incana and Brassica tournefortii have more recently displaced it as the dominant alien in sage scrub (Cal-IPC, 2004).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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The local rate of spread is slow unless there is disturbance (Cal-IPC, 2004)

Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

B. nigra disperses seed via silique dehiscence which may propel seeds several metres from the parent plant (Hayashi et al. (2010) describe the mechanism in the related species Cardamine parviflora). Saltation may provide additional local dispersal (Cal-IPC, 2004).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Rodents may disperse seeds locally (Cal-IPC, 2004).

Accidental Introduction

Mustard seeds are sticky when wet, facilitating dispersal on vehicles. When the species grows as a field crop weed in hay fields, seeds may be dispersed along with the hay when it is sold (Cal-IPC, 2004).

Intentional Introduction

When grown as a crop plant the species is moved across national boundaries and intentionally propagated.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Fooddeliberate Yes Yes
Hitchhikeraccidental Yes Yes Cal-IPC, California Invasive Plant Council
Seed tradedeliberate Yes
Self-propellednatural Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Clothing, footwear and possessionsVia seed, soiled footwear, accidental Yes Yes Cal-IPC, California Invasive Plant Council
Land vehiclesVia seed, soiled tyres Yes Cal-IPC, California Invasive Plant Council
Soil, sand and gravelVia seed Yes Yes Cal-IPC, California Invasive Plant Council

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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When B. nigra is grown as a crop, volunteer plants can cause a significant weed problem.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

In California, B. nigra may increase fuel loads and so increase fire intensity, but only where alien annual grasses have already altered the fire regime, so the additional effect of this species may only be slight. B. nigra is an early successional species, which may decline in dominance as native species re-establish, but this probably varies among vegetation types. It may persist indefinitely in riparian areas with repeated natural disturbance. Over 50% of coastal scrub plant communities and 20-50% of coastal bluff scrub plant communities in California are invaded by B. nigra (Cal-IPC, 2004).

Impact on biodiversity

B. nigra may reduce biomass and fecundity of co-existing species. It can produce large amounts of biomass, and matures early in the phenologic year, possibly usurping soil water before other native annual plants reach peak development (Cal-IPC, 2004, describing the situation in California). It is reported to establish from the seedbank in chaparral after a 40-year fire-free interval (DiTomaso and Healy, 2007). B. nigra is non-mycorrhizal and reduces soil biodiversity when present (Lankau et al., 2010). It also inhibits the germination of other species through allelopathy, supporting dense stands of nearly monotypic mustard (Bell and Muller, 1973; Turk and Tawaha, 2003). Through apparent competition it was found to reduce native plant establishment (Orrock et al., 2008).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Acanthomintha ilicifoliaNatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesCaliforniaCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009
Verbesina dissita (big-leaved crownbeard)National list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesCaliforniaCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b
Vulpes macrotis mutica (San Joaquin kit fox)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesCaliforniaEcosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Increases vulnerability to invasions
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally

Uses

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Economic value

The seed of B. nigra has been used as a spice and medicine since ancient times in the Middle East, India and Greece. Finely ground seeds of black mustard provide mustard meal, a neutral odourless powder which stores well if kept dry. This meal, mixed with vinegar, is the pungent condiment or table mustard known as French and English mustard. Adding vinegar to a coarsely ground mixture of seeds of black mustard and of white mustard (Sinapis alba) produces the milder German or Dutch mustard. In Europe and North America, condiment mustard used to be prepared in the home by rolling a metal ball in a bowl of mustard seed and then mixing vinegar into the resulting crushed seed. Other herbs may be added according to taste and tradition and, for a milder taste, sugar, honey or starchy substances. There are numerous manufacturers' recipes. In cooking, mustard is mainly used to flavour meat dishes and sauces for meat, fish, salads, and snacks. In mayonnaise preparation it is also added as an emulsion stabilizer. The regulatory status of black mustard in the USA is 'generally recognized as safe' (GRAS 2760).

In traditional medicine, mustard meal mixed with water was used extensively as a plaster preparation and to prepare mustard baths to treat skin ailments, arthritis and rheumatism. The seeds are used as a diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, irritant and stimulant. Tea prepared from the seed is used to cure sore throat and to relieve bronchitis and rheumatism. Hot water poured on crushed seed makes a household remedy for headaches and colds and a stimulating foot bath. Mustard oil is said to stimulate hair growth.

Allyl isothiocyanate from B. nigra is used in cat and dog repellents.

B. nigra is a copious nectar producer and yields a mild-flavoured, light-coloured honey.

Naturalised or invasive B. nigra has no economic value.

Social Benefit

In California B. nigra is viewed by some as a beautiful wildflower which carpets the coastal landscape in yellow flowers in spring.

Environmental Services

B. nigra provides pollen to insects and bees.

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Soil improvement

General

  • Sociocultural value

Human food and beverage

  • Seeds
  • Spices and culinary herbs

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Detection and Inspection

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It is unlikely that whole plant transportation would occur, but transport of B. nigra seed is likely, and it is seeds that would have to be detected. B. nigra seeds are dark brown to black with a pungent taste, spherical, and 1.2–1.5 mm wide.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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B. nigra can be confused with other mustard species.

In southern California it can be confused with shortpod mustard (Hirschfeldia incana), Sahara mustard (B. tournefortii) and field mustard (B. rapa) (Baldwin et al., 2012). H. incana is a biennial or short-lived perennial species. Siliques of both B. nigra and H. incana are short and appressed to the flowering stem. B. nigra generally has a single main stem that grows to over one metre tall, whereas H. incana generally has several stems that grow to one metre or less. Sahara mustard (B. tournefortii) has stiff hairy basal leaves and siliques that are spreading, not appressed. Field mustard (B. rapa) has cauline sessile leaves with no hairs.

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

When B. nigra is grown as a crop, harvested plants should preferably be bunched and put to dry on a floor. This ensures that most seeds will be collected and that there will be no large-scale seed losses in the field leading to subsequent massive growth of volunteer plants causing a weed problem.

Public awareness

The California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) and its student chapter work to bring practitioners, researchers and the general public together on issues related to wildland invasive weeds.

Eradication

This species is so widespread in California that eradication there is generally not a realistic goal.

Control

Physical/mechanical control

Plants can be cut below the crown, or individual plants can be pulled up by hand, prior to fruit development.

Chemical control

When plants are still in the vegetative rosette stage, application of a foliar herbicide has good results.

Mitigation

Various mitigation projects in coastal California control B. nigra as part of their restoration goals.

Ecosystem Restoration

Active control of B. nigra is necessary to restore an ecosystem since the species alters soil chemistry, biota and ecology through allelopathy.

Bibliography

Top of page Burkill IH, 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Revised reprint of the 1935 edition. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, 361-363.

Fenwick GR, Heaney RK, Mullin WJ, 1982. Glucosinolates and their breakdown products in food and food plants. CRC Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 18(2):123-201.

Hemingway JS, 1995. Mustards. In: Smartt J, Simmonds NW (Eds). Evolution of crop plants. 2nd edition. Harlow, UK: Longman Scientific & Technical, 82-86.

Schuster W, Klein H, 1978. Ueber okologische Einflusse auf Leistung und Qualitat der Samen einiger Sorten der Senfarten Sinapis alba, Brassica juncea und Brassica nigra [Ecological influences on seed yield and quality of the mustard species Sinapis alba, Brassica juncea and Brassica nigra]. Zeitschrift für Acker- und Pflanzenbau, 147(3):204-227.

Vaughan JG, Hemingway JS, 1959. The utilization of mustards. Economic Botany, 13(3):196-203.

References

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Baldwin BG, Goldman DH, Keil DJ, Patterson R, Rasatti TJ, Wilken DH, 2012. The Jepson manual: vascular plants of California. Berkeley, California, USA: University of California Press.

Bell D, Muller CH, 1973. Dominance of California Annual Grasslands by Brassica nigra. The American Midland Naturalist, 90(2):277-299.

Burkill IH, 1966. A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula, 2(2nd edition):2444 pp.

Cal-IPC (California Invasive Plant Council), 2004. Cal-IPC Plant Assessment Form for Brassica nigra. Berkeley, California, USA: California Invasive Plant Council. http://www.cal-ipc.org/paf/site/paf/500

Center for New Crops & Plant Products, 2013. CropINDEX. West Lafayette, Indiana, USA: Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Purdue University. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/Indices/index_ab.html

DiTomaso JM, Healy EA, 2007. Weeds of California and other Western States. Vol 1. California, USA: UC Davis, 1808 pp. [University of California ANR Pub. 3488.]

Encyclopedia of Life, 2013. Encyclopedia of Life. http://www.eol.org

Euro+Med, 2013. Euro+Med PlantBase. http://www.emplantbase.org/home.html

Fenwick GR, Heaney RK, Mullin WJ, 1982. Glucosinolates and their breakdown products in food and food plants. CRC Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 18(2):123-201.

GBIF, 2013. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). http://data.gbif.org/species/

Hayashi M, Gerry SP, Ellerby DJ, 2010. The seed dispersal catapult of Cardamine parviflora (Brassicaceae) is efficient but unreliable. American Journal of Botany, 97(10):1595-1601. http://www.amjbot.org/

Hemingway JS, 1995. Mustards. In: Evolution of crop plants, 2nd edition [ed. by Smartt, J. \Simmonds, N. W.]. Harlow, UK: Longman Scientific & Technical, 82-86.

Lankau RA, Wheeler E, Bennett AE, Strauss SY, 2011. Plant-soil feedbacks contribute to an intransitive competitive network that promotes both genetic and species diversity. Journal of Ecology (Oxford), 99(1):176-185. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2745

Oduor AMO, Lankau RA, Strauss SY, Gómez JM, 2011. Introduced Brassica nigra populations exhibit greater growth and herbivore resistance but less tolerance than native populations in the native range. New Phytologist, 191(2):536-544. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1469-8137

Orrock JL, Witter MS, Reichman OJ, 2008. Apparent competition with an exotic plant reduces native plant establishment. Ecology, 89(4):1168-1174. http://www.esajournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1890%2F07-0223.1

Ravindran, P. N., 2017. The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices. Wallingford, UK, CAB International ,

Schuster W, Klein H, 1978. Ecological influences on seed yield and quality in some varieties of Sinapis alba, Brassica juncea and Brassica nigra. (Uber okologische Einflusse auf Leistung und Qualitat der Samen einiger Sorten der Senfarten Sinapis alba, Brassica juncea und Brassica nigra.) Zeitschrift fur Acker- und Pflanzenbau, 147(3):204-227.

Turk MA, Tawaha AM, 2003. Allelopathic effect of black mustard (Brassica nigra L.) on germination and growth of wild oat (Avena fatua L.). Crop Protection, 22(4):673-677.

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009. In: Acanthomintha ilicifolia (San Diego thornmint). 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 39 pp.. http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/five_year_review/doc2571.pdf

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010. In: San Joaquin Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica). 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 121 pp..

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010. In: Verbesina dissita (Big-leaved crownbeard). 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 38 pp.. https://ecos.fws.gov/docs/five_year_review/doc3559.pdf

USDA-ARS, 2013. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2013. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

VAUGHAN JG, HEMINGWAY JS, 1959. The utilization of mustards. Economic Botany, 13(3):196-204.

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
ARS Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)http://www.ars-grin.gov
Australia’s Virtual Herbarium.http://avh.ala.org.au/
Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Conosurhttp://www2.darwin.edu.ar/Proyectos/FloraArgentina/FA.asp
Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Healthhttp://www.invasive.org/
Collaborative Floristic Effort of North American Botanistshttp://efloras.org
Database of European Plants (ESFEDS)http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/FE/fe.html
Electronic Plant Information Centre of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kewhttp://epic.kew.org
Information Resource for Euro-Mediterranean Plant Diversityhttp://ww2.bgbm.org/EuroPlusMed
Integrated Taxomonic Information Service (ITIS)http://www.itis.gov
Jepson Interchange (University of California – Berkeley)http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/interchange
National Center for Biotechnology Informationhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Native American Ethnobotany (University of Michigan – Dearborn)http://herb.umd.umich.edu
Nomenclatural and Specimen Database of the Missouri Botanical Gardenhttp://www.tropicos.org
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Plants Profilehttp://plants.usda.gov
USDA's National Agricultural Libraryhttp://agricola.nal.usda.gov

Organizations

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USA: California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC), 1442-A Walnut Street, #462, Berkeley, California, CA 94709, http://www.cal-ipc.org/

Contributors

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01/04/2013 Updated by:

Kai Palenscar, Department of Botany and Plant Science, University of California, Riverside, California, USA.

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