Origin: Introduced from the Mediterranean region, reaching North America perhaps as early as 8000 years bp (Jacobson et al. 1988)
Voucher:WTU (view specimen records)
Notes: FNA7: "Infraspecific taxa have been recognized in Sinapis arvensis on the basis of minor variation in fruit and basal leaf morphology, but the species is extremely variable, and none of the variants is recognized here.
Sinapis arvensis is one of the most widespread and abundant weeds of cultivated grain fields in North America, causing crop losses and acting as host for viruses and fungi that also attack some cruciferous vegetable crops (G. A. Mulligan and L. G. Bailey 1975; I. A. Al-Shehbaz 1985; R. C. Rollins and Al-Shehbaz 1986). It is generally considered a native of Eurasia and is thought to have been introduced into the New World by European settlers about 400 years ago. Recent archaeological and ethnobotanical studies (H. A. Jacobson et al. 1988) indicate that it (as Brassica kaber) grew in the northeastern United States as early as 8000 years ago and suggest that it originally had a semi-circumboreal distribution."
» Jacobson, H. A., J. B. Peterson, and D. E. Putnam. 1988. Evidence of pre-Columbian Brassica in the northeastern United States. Rhodora 90: 355-362.
Photo © Richard Old
(from WTU Image Collection)