Brassica nigra (L.) K.Koch, Deutschl. Fl. ed. 3, 4: 713 1833. (syn: Brassica nigra var. abyssinica A. Braun; Brassica nigra var. bracteolata (Fisch. & C.A. Mey.) Spach; Brassica nigra var. nigra ; Brassica nigra var. torulosa (Pers.) Alef.; Melanosinapis nigra (L.) Calest.; Mutarda nigra (L.) Bernh.; Mutarda nigra (L.) Bernh.; Sinapis nigra L.; Sinapis torulosa Pers.; Sisymbrium nigrum (L.) Prantl);
Three similar crucifers with appressed fruits : 3 posts by 3 authors.
Almost every one of us has seen seeds of Brassica nigra (RAI), the ingrediant of most pickles, but not many must have seen
its plant, and that too in fruiting. The species is distinct from all other species in that slender fruits are parallel to the axis, almost touching (appressed). On my visit to Kashmir after several years I was surprised to see a crucifer with similar appressed fruits but smaller flowers in area of my Ph.D research, with different hairy stems and leaves and most horizontal branches, a plant never seen by me before in Kashmir. This plant reminded me of similar crucifer I had seen in California, identified as Hirschfeldia incana, but on detailed investigation it turned out to be Sisymbrium officinale, first reported in India from Kashmir in 1975, and subsequently from Manali in Himachal Pradesh. I am presenting three species here.
1. Brassica nigra (Black Mustard): Vikas Puri, Delhi, December 18, 2013 (A-D) (flowers 10-12 mm across, petals 8-10 mm long, 3-4 mm broad, clawed, pod 1-2 cm long, torulose, with 2-3 mm long seedless beak, seeds 3-5 in each locule)
2. Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard): Dachhigam Kashmir, June 4, 2012 (E-H) (flowers 3-4 mm across, petals 4 mm long, 1-2 mmbroad, pod 1-1.5 cm long, seeds 10-11 in each locule)
3. Hirschfeldia incana (Shortpod mustard): California, October 2, 2010 (I-L) (Flowers with petals 5-10 mm long, fruit 7-15 mm long, jointed, seeds 3-5 per locule, terminal segment 3-6 mm long, 1-2 seeded) ………for comparison only.
Catalogue of Life The Plant List Ver.1.1 Flora of China Flora of Pakistan FOP illustration Annotated checklist of Flowering plants of Nepal India Biodiversity Portal