Crucifer plants -Hedge Mustard 

Courtesy of H.Zell CC  BY-SA 3.0 License.File:Sisymbrium officinale 001.JPGFile:Sisymbrium officinale 001.JPG


In this series reviewing crucifer plants { those whose four petals form a cross} we will look at some of our most familiar plants. They belong to the Brassica family which includes the Turnip, Cabbage and Radish etc as well as some familiar cultivars such as the Wallflower Stock and Candytuft.

 Here we review the plant Hedge Mustard, Symbrium officinale. Pictured above.

Description and habitat.

This is a common plant in the UK, formerly known as Erysimum officinale, it grows by roadsides and in waste places. It is a native of Europe and North Africa but is now firmly established across many parts of the world.This species is distinct from mustards that belong to the genus Brassica, but differs from other members of the genus Symbrium,  being tall and producing tiny flowers. the fruit capsules stand parallel to the stem instead of hanging free.

The darkish green stems are slender but tough,they are branched and rough, the leaves are hairy and deeply lobed, the terminal lobe the larger. The yellow flowers are small placed at the top of the branches. They flower in degrees throughout July.

The foliage of Hedge mustard.

Courtesy of H Zell. CC  BY-SA 3.0 License.

 File:Sisymbrium officinale 002.JPG


Medicinal and culinary uses.

In days gone by this was named the 'Singers plant', opera singers utilized an infusion of this plant to keep their throats in good health.  The whole plant was once infused to alleviate the symptoms which caused loss of voice , sore throats caused by a variety of reasons.

The fresh plant is used in medicine and it was once used for a variety of ailments such as the common cold and gall bladder problems and as a diuretic. However, there are some herbalists that believe there are safety concerns about the side effects of this plant and urge people to use extreme caution. Especially the elderly and children. Most of its medicinal uses seem to derive from the writings of Pliny the Elder.

The young leaves are eaten in salads raw or cooked in stir fries and the like.

The above information is for historical use only and not meant as a guide to self medication. 

Components of Hedge Mustard. Public domain Wikicommons.

Close up of the flowers.

Courtesy of Dermorgendanach.  CC BY-SA 4.0 LicenseSisymbrium officinale.JPG

Reuse of images.

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