Blue Musk-Mustard
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Blue Musk-Mustard
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Blue Musk-Mustard, Blue Mustard, Crossflower, Musk Mustard
Botanical name: Chorispora tenella    Family: Brassicaceae (Mustard family)
Synonyms: Chorispermum tenellum, Raphanus tenellus, Cheiranthus taraxacifolius

Blue Musk-Mustard is an annual herb 10-25 cm tall and covered abundantly in sticky foliage. The four tiny flower petals emerge from a loose tube of sepals and spread into a flower about a centimeter wide. The flowers are lavender in color and a field heavily infested with purple mustard can take on a distinct lavender wash. Basal leaves are in a rosette, inverted-lanceshaped, wavy-toothed, 3-8 cm long, 5-20 mm broad, stalked; upper leaves shortly stalked to stalkless, similar but becoming smaller upwards. The plant has a strong scent which is generally considered unpleasant. The fruits are long upturned cylindrical capsules about 4 cm long containing round, reddish-brown seeds. This is a tenacious weed which can be troublesome in agriculture. It reduces yields in grain fields and when it is consumed by dairy cattle it gives their milk a bad taste and odor. This plant reproduces by seed, so any control method preventing the plants from setting seed is effective. Blue Musk-Mustard is found in most of Europe and Asia. In India it is found in the Himalayas, from Kashmir to Lahaul, at altitudes of 100-3000 m.

Identification credit: Varun Sharma Photographed in Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh.

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