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

Blue 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 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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