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03.06.2009 · Posted in Home and Garden Articles

Wild Mustard does not finish up in processed form on the dining table. The seasoning is made from other species, mainly Black Mustard (Brassica nigra) and White Mustard (S. alba), although all mustards contain similar substances such as fats, essential oils, and glycosides. nnThe Galinsoga made their way across the Atlantic as eighteenth-century stowaways concealed on ships carrying seeds and planting stock from the New World to the Old. Such is their fertility – a single, small-flowered Galinsoga can produce as many as 300 000 new plants – that within less than a century they were widely dispersed on European soil.nnOriginally a native of the Mediterranean region, it spread with the seeds of cultivated plants and its range is now practically worldwide. Cultivated mustard (black and white) was introduced to the northern parts of Europe by the Romans and later by the monks of mediaeval monasteries.nnThe prostrate stems are quick to root, even after mowing. The achenes germinate more readily when exposed to light. If they are ploughed under they remain viable for several years until coming to the surface again. Control of this weed is achieved to some extent in northern Europe by frost, which is not tolerated by these tropical plants.nnUnlike those of the Wild Radish, the sepals of the Wild Mustard flower are expanded, spreading in almost regular formation . The fruit is a long cylindrical pod with a long beak. The seeds are nearly smooth, glossy, and with an almost invisible reticulate pattern. nnWild Radish is an annual (rarely an overwintering) herb, which is easily distinguished during the flowering period from the similar Wild Mustard by the way the calyx is attached to the petals. The loment, the interesting fruit of Wild Radish with long constrictions between the seeds, breaks readily into weakly ribbed, one-seeded joints which float on water, thus contributing to the dispersal of the plant. The seeds, with a pitted network pattern, measure approximately 2-3 mm in diameter.

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