Blue mustard

Chorispora tenella

This plant is a winter or early spring annual about ½–2' tall. It is more or less erect and branches occasionally. The round stems are light green and sparsely covered with short glandular hairs. The alternate leaves are greyish or bluish green and up to 2½" long and 2/3" (17 mm.) across. They are narrowly ovate or oblanceolate, dentate and slightly undulate along the margins, and sparsely covered with short glandular hairs. The tip of each leaf is blunt or acute; it tapers gradually to a petiole-like base. The upper stems terminate in racemes of flowers up to 1' in length. Only a few flowers bloom at the apex of each raceme, while the siliques (slender seedpods) develop below. The central stalk of each raceme has a tendency to zigzag between the flowers. Each flower is about ½" across and ½" long. It consists of 4 narrow petals that are pink to purplish pink, 4 linear sepals that are purplish pink and slightly hairy, several stamens, and a pistil. The throat of this flower is quite narrow; its calyx is cylindrical, while the petals are widely
 spreading and form a cross. The blooming period occurs from mid-spring to mid-summer and lasts about 2-3 months. There is no noticeable floral scent. Each flower is replaced is replaced by a stout silique that curves upward and tapers to a beak. The pedicel of each silique (or flower) is quite stout and about 1/3" (8 mm.) long. Each silique is about 1–1½" long when fully mature. The seeds have a smooth surface and are slightly flattened. The root system consists of a stout taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.

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