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Asian Mustard is a widespread annual, native plant to Africa, Asia and Europe. The species has become widely spread and naturalised in southwest USA, Australia and New Zealand. This plant is in the Brassicaceae family as it also known as the African Mustard, Desert Mustard, Moroccan Mustard, and Sahara Mustard. Interestingly, a well-developed plant can produce up to 16,000 seeds. Mature plants can dry up and break off forming a tumbleweed that could be mistaken for Russian thistle.
This rapid growing plant has almost leafless stems that grow about 60cm from the plant creating a bush-like appearance. Mature plants can dry up and break off forming a tumbleweed that could be mistaken for Russian thistle. It doesn't take much water for this plant to sprout.
This plant flowers early in the growing season. The small, dull yellow flowers are inconspicuous compared to most other true mustards. Each flower has four petals and four sepals. It has six stamens, 4 long, 2 short. The fruit is a long rounded capsule, narrowed between seeds; seeds drop into the soil and have the ability to survive fire.
Asian mustard plants have basal rosetted leaves. Leaf petioles are slightly hairy. Leaves are pinnately lobed, serrate-dentate, with lateral lobe pairs (4 to 10). The base is tapered, not lobed.
Asian mustard shows variability in size depending on the availability of soil moisture. Drought-stressed plants can reproduce with leaves as small as 8cm long and on sandy soils with sufficient moisture leaves have known to grow to more than 50cm long, giving the plant a 1m spread. Depending on location, this annual plant can grow anywhere from 10 to 100cm tall.
Asian mustard prefers sandy soil, and is known to live in unfavourable environmental conditions where no other plants can grow.This plant is known to also grow in fields, along roadsides, rocky hillsides, poor quality soils, deserts, and along crop fields.
This mustard plant is an edible leafy green formerly consumed by North African populations. Nowadays, this plant has been somewhat neglected as a valuable source of food. Leaves and young shoots can be consumed.
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