February 4, 2023
Sinapis arvensis

Sinapis arvensis – Charlock

Sinapis arvensis is also known as Brassica arvensis, Brassica Kkaber, Charlock, or Carlock, Com Mustard, Field Kale, Kedlock, Kinkle, Wild Kale, or Wild Mustard. It is a herbaceous plant. It is from the Brassicaceae family of plants.

It is a relative of the species which is grown for mustard. It does produce a lot of seeds but the mustard we eat is not from this variety. This plant was first introduced in Species Plantarum by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.

Sinapis arvensis

Sinapis arvensis description:

Sinapis arvensis is an annual. It grows between 20-80cm or 8-32in. It is native to Eurasia and North Africa. It grows both in fields and mountains.

Sinapis arvensis flowers between May and September. It has bright yellow flowers. It attracts butterflies. Especially the Pieris rap and Pieris napi variety. The stems have coarser hair toward the base. The leaves are petiolate.

Propagate Sinapis arvensis by seed. Sinapis arvensis is a wildflower. It is easy to grow. No pruning is necessary. It is pest-free and disease-free. It is a larval food source for butterflies and the seeds. It is also a food source for birds. It prefers more alkaline soil. Grow it in the sun as it does not like shade.

Sinapis arvensis

Sinapis arvensis in culinary use:

The leaves are of Sinapis arvensis are edible when young. It was a food that was common during the Irish potato famine. But it did cause stomach upset. The mature leaves are bitter.

The flowering stems can also be cooked and they have a taste similar to cabbage and radish. They are best steamed for about 5 minutes. The flowers can be used as a garnish or cooked.

The plant is considered poisonous once the seedpods have been produced. The seeds, dark-red or brown, can be made into mustard but it is not the kind used commercially.

Mustard produced commercially or in cooking is Sinapis alba for yellow and white mustard; Brassica juncea for brown mustard; Brassica nigra for black mustard.

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