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BRASSICA juncea

Image of Brassica juncea

TL

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

BRASSICA juncea

Plant Common Name

India Mustard

General Description

A pungently flavored green, India mustard is a fast growing, cool season annual or biennial that originates from Asia but has been introduced as a weed in many other parts of the world. Its greens add zest to salads and stir-fries and its pungent seeds are used to make brown mustard.

India mustard produces rosettes of large, oval, lobed leaves. The leaves are thin, lightly hairy and have wavy edges. Purple or red-leaved selections are common. It also produces a large, turnip-like taproot but this is rarely eaten. Warm weather causes plants to "bolt", or produce flowers. The clusters of four-petaled, pale yellow flowers appear atop waist-high stems. Crescent-shaped green pods filled with dark red-brown seeds follow the flowers. The dried pods split open to disperse the seeds.

Grow India mustard in full sun and well-drained neutral to alkaline soil. It will not tolerate severe heat or cold. The leaves are most flavorful when nights are cool. Warm weather causes bitter tasting foliage and early bolting. The best planting times are early spring or late summer for a fall crop. Where year round temperatures are mild, it makes a great winter crop. It is very fast growing and generally takes between 30 to 60 days, depending on the variety. The leaves can be harvested individually or the whole plant can be harvested. Self-sowing will not occur if the whole plant is removed before it bolts.

Cultivars have been selected for various attributes including colorful foliage, edible stems and roots, and flavorful seeds or leaves. Some more notable selections include the compact, purple-leaved 'Osaka Purple' and large, green-leaved 'Southern Giant Curled.'

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1'-4' / 0.3m - 1.2m

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Light Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Purple, Burgundy, Dark Red

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Purple

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Purple, Burgundy, Dark Red

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes