Weekly Wildflower Feature for the week of June 8, 2020

Hey all, happy Monday! This week, we’re going to talk about the Mustard family, Brassicaceae.

Quite a few of our nation’s food crops are members of the Brassicaceae family; broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, mustard (obviously), and more! Still, many members of the mustard family are not cultivated and thrive in natural habitats.

CVNP is home to 22 members of the Brassicaceae family. About half of our mustard species live here naturally (a.k.a. native), while half of them were brought here by humans (a.k.a. non-native)! Regardless of their unique origin stories, the flowers of Mustard plants share certain characteristics. Here are 3 characteristics to check for if you think you’ve found a Mustard bloom!

1) The flower has 4 petals and 4 sepals

Left: Dame's Rocket petals (credit: Arthur Haines). Right: Dame's Rocket sepals (credit: Katy Chayka)

2) The flower has 6 stamens: 4 tall and 2 short

Left: Black Mustard 4 tall stamens in the middle, 2 short stamens on the right and left (credit: Jouko Lehmmuskallio). Right: Spring Cress 4 tall stamens in the middle, 2 short stamens on the right and left (credit:SRTurner)

3) The seed pods that attach to the plant stalk in a “spiral staircase” formation

Left: Shepherd's Purse triangular seed pods (credit: Glen Mittelhauser). Right: Spring Cress thin, oblong seed pods (credit: SRTurner).

These are just a few examples of Brassicaceae family flower characteristics. Here is a great resource that explains these characteristics in more detail: https://www.wildflowers-and-weeds.com/Plant_Families/Brassicaceae.htm

Feel free to respond to this post with any questions you have. Happy iNatting!

Posted by mklein1216 mklein1216, June 08, 2020 15:49

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