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Published In: Species Plantarum 2: 666. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/11/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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10. Brassica L. (mustard)

Plants annual or biennial (woody-based perennials or shrubs elsewhere), terrestrial, glabrous or with unbranched, frequently coarse, spreading hairs. Stems erect, usually branched. Leaves alternate and basal, the lower leaves usually relatively long-petiolate, the upper leaves progressively reduced and short-petiolate or sessile, the bases clasping or not clasping, the leaf blades entire to pinnately divided and toothed. Inflorescences panicles or racemes, the lower branches rarely subtended by reduced leaves, the flowers bractless. Sepals erect or ascending, mostly narrowly oblong or linear-lanceolate. Petals unlobed, yellow, without conspicuously darkened veins. Fruits 10–70 mm long, mostly more than 10 times as long as wide, spreading, ascending, or erect (reflexed elsewhere), straight or slightly arched upward, circular or somewhat 4-angled in cross-section, short- to long-beaked with a distinct, tapering, usually seedless area in addition to the style, the portion below the beak dehiscing longitudinally, each valve with a midnerve. Seeds in 1 row in each locule, 1.2–1.7 mm long, globose, the surface with a fine to coarse, netlike or honeycomb-like pattern of ridges and pits, reddish brown to gray or black. About 40 species, Europe, Asia, Africa, a few species introduced nearly worldwide.

The genus Brassica is of tremendous economic importance for its agricultural crop species, with major uses ranging from vegetables to seed oils. One species, B. oleracea L., has numerous economically important cultivars, including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi, the so-called kohl crops that have been advocated as potentially reducing the risk of heart disease when eaten regularly. Several species have been used pharmaceutically and medicinally, and some of the weedy species have been shown to be poisonous to humans and livestock when ingested in large quantities (Al-Shehbaz, 1985).

Mühlenbach (1983) reported B. oleracea as a member of the synanthropic railroad flora of the St. Louis area; however, this report was based upon misdetermined specimens of B. juncea. Brassica oleracea rarely if ever becomes established outside of cultivation and was not accepted as naturalized in the recent treatments of Al-Shehbaz (1985) for the southeastern United States and Rollins (1993) for North America.


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1 Upper leaves sessile, the bases clasping the stems and with auricles 2 Brassica napus
+ Upper leaves petiolate, or if sessile, then tapered at the base and not clasping 3 Brassica nigra
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