Saturday, May 9, 2009

100 Species Challenge #52

Specimen #52

Black Mustard

Brassica nigra

Photo by me, south Des Moines

3/4 of GAIN and I are looking for morels. (1/4 of GAIN and Mr. GAIN are trying to get her learner's permit.) On the way into the woods, we pass a sandy, dry area. I snapped these photos with my camera-phone and put them here so you can see them side by side. On the left is the yellow flowered Black Mustard. On the right is the white flowered Shepherd's Purse. I think they are similar in shape and they both have clusters of small flowers.

It is not a native plant and its seeds can be used to make yellow mustard, the table condiment.

We usually see this plant in border areas, disturbed areas, and roadsides. We do not see them in woods or prairies, just the 'low quality' places. Sometimes you see them wilted -- there were a couple wilted on this particular trip.

From Wildflowers & Weeds, I found this handy tidbit:

For the purposes of the Mustard family, all you need to remember is "4 petals with 6 stamens--4 tall and 2 short"

Since I did not have my macro lens, I will let you visit Illinois Wildflowers for a better look at the flower.

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