Mustard is the common name for plants in the Brassicaceae family. This family used to be called Cruciferae because the four petals of their flowers are reminiscent of a cross. Indeed the flowers of all plants in this family have four petals, four sepals, 6 stamen (4 long and 2 short), the leaves are alternate and sometimes basal, and the fruit is a long capsule called a siliqua.
Important and familiar food crops in the mustard family are cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, rapeseed, mustard, radish, horseradish, cress, and watercress.
In many areas of California wild mustard is one of the first plants to bloom and it can cover an entire hillside making a beautiful display of color.
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