Sinapis arvensis

Scientific Name Sinapis arvensis L.
Common Names English: Wild mustard, charlock; German: Ackersenf; French: Moutarde des champs; Spanish: Mostaza silvestre
Description Upright annual, seed-propagated weed with a short taproot, originates from Eurasia.


Characteristic Features

Characteristic yellow flowers.


Vigorous, inverse-cordate, petiolate, strongly sinuate at the tip.


Erect, with ramified branches especially at the top, roughly haired below, up to 60 cm (23.62 inch) high.


Lower leaves petiolate, lobed, or sinuate-dentate, nearly lyre-formed.
Upper leaves ovate-oblong, only short-petiolate to sessile, irregularly dentate, usually undivided.
The first true leaf has a broad, rounded tip and shallow indentations along its margins.

Propagation Organs


Numerous in dense, compounded clusters (corymb-like), as much as 30 cm (11.81 inch) long, gold-yellow.
Flower stalks stout, 2-6 mm (0.078 - 0.23 inch) long, erect or ascending.
The 4 sepals 4-5 mm (0.15 - 0.19 inch) long, narrowly oblong, spreading, the edges rolled in. Sepals spreading horizontally (distinction to wild radish).
The 4 petals showy, spatulate, 8-14 mm (0.31 - 0.55 inch) long, the narrow, erect claw about half the length of the petal.

Flowering Period

Early summer - autumn, often until winter.


Pods, 4-5 cm (1.57 - 1.96 inch) long, about 2 mm (0.078 inch) broad, hairless or somewhat short-hairy, straight or slightly upcurved, the flattened beak 1/3-1/2 as long as the valves and similarly rather evidently 3-nerved. Flats are opened from below.


Germination in spring, seed germination depth usually only up to 2 cm (0.78 inch), shallow germinator.
Seeds 7-12, about 2 mm (0.078 inch) long, round, black-brown, with fine honey-comb patterns.

Viability of Seeds

More than 35 years due to high oil content in the seeds.


By seeds.
200-2,000 seeds/plant.



Cultivated ground, usually on heavy calcareous soils.


Primarily on better, nutrient-rich and usually also lime-rich soils.

Additional Crop Information

Often high densities in all crops, especially in cereals and row crops.

Agricultural Importance

S. arvensis stongly competes for soil nutrients and but only reduces yield and interferes with combine harvesting in high densities and when no chemical weed control agent is applied.


Useful non-chemical contribution to Integrated Weed Management

The soil of infested areas may be cultivated in regular intervals to stimulate and kill successive flushes of seedlings.

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