Hedge Mustard

March 10th, 2012

Latin:  Sisymbrium officinale

Irish:  Lus an óir


This member of the Cruciferae family is widespread in Ireland but is not native .  It is a stiffly erect annual or biennial which is commonly found in waste ground, hedgerows and on disturbed ground.

It has tough stems that grow up to 80cm high and its tiny (3mm across), yellow, 4-petalled flowers appear from May to October.

This cluster of flowers elongates as the fruit develops as hairy pods (6-20mm long) that are closely pressed into the stem.

In the past, Hedge Mustard and was eaten in salads, soups and omelettes and, in fact, it still cultivated in parts of continentalEuropefor its edible leaves and seeds.  It was also used in cough mixtures and an infusion of it was said to enhance the vocal performance of singers when taken as a gargle.

It is attractive to wildlife and is a food source for Small White and Orange-tip Butterflies.

At Castlewarden, it can be found in the Builder’s Paddock and in the machinery yard.


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