Family: Brassicaceae; Cruciferae
Common name: mustard family [Zomlefer, pp. 125-130]
Diversity: Worldwide: ~380 genera; ~3,200 species
U.S.: 55 genera
PNW (Hitchcock & Cronquist): 54 genera
Flower -- Vegetative Features -- Economic Importance -- Flower Images-- Web Sites

K4 Co4 S2+4 P (2)
Sexuality: bisexual (perfect)
Symmetry: actinomorphic (radial or regular)
Inflorescence: raceme, indeterminate growth
Calyx (sepals): 4 separate
Corolla (petals): 4 separate, often clawed, cruciform
Androecium: 6, tetradynamous (4 tall, 2 short)
Gynoecium: 2 united carpels, superior ovary (= hypogynous flower); ovules have parietal placentation
Fruit: dry, dehiscent. silicle (short,squat), silique (longer than wide by 3X)
Other features: family has a genetic self-incompatabiliy system (sporophytic type)

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Vegetative Features
watery, acrid (bitter) juice; peppery taste (due to mustard glucosinolates)
Leaves: alternate, simple to lobed, exstipulate (lacking stipules), often a basal rosette
Life-history: annual to perennial
Habit: mostly herbs, some shrubs, a few +/- woody
Distribution & Ecology: temperate/cold regions of N. Hemisphere
centered in Mediterranean, C. and SW Asia
rare in tropics
Some Northwest Genera: Arabis rock cress
Cardamine toothwort or bitter-cress
Lunaria moneywort
Draba draba

Economic Importance
Crops: many; Brassica mustard, cabbage, kale, rutabga, turnip, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip
Raphanus radish
Ornamentals: few; Erysimum wall flower
Weedy and pest species: many; Brassica spp.
Capsella bursa-pastoris shepherd's purse
Thlaspi penny cress; fanweed
Lepidium pepper grass

Examples Brassica
click on the genus name for a flower image

Links to Other Web Sites

Texas A & M Univ.
Image Gallery
A collection of images for plants in the Brassicaceae, listed alphabetically by genus.
Around the world with
A photo-tour of a few of the world's Brassica species, hosted by the Wisconsin Fastplants group
The Mount Horeb
Mustard Museum
Hard to believe, but there are more varieties of the mustard condiment than there are species in the mustard family.
This site answers all the questions you never knew you had.