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Brassica juncea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. juncea
Binomial name
Brassica juncea
(L.) Czern.

Brassica juncea, also known as mustard greens, Indian mustard and leaf mustard, is a species of mustard plant. Sub-varieties include Southern Giant Curled Mustard, which resembles a headless cabbage such as Kale, but with a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor. It is also known as green mustard cabbage.





The leaves, the seeds, and the stem of this mustard variety are edible. The plant appears in some form in African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Soul food cuisine. Cultivars of B. juncea are grown as greens, and for the production of oilseed. The leaves are used in African[1] cooking, and leaves, seeds, and stems are used in Indian cuisine, particular in Punjab cuisine of India and Pakistan, where a famous dish called 'Saarson da saag'(lit. mustard greens) is prepared. B. juncea subsp. tatsai which has a particularly thick stem, is used to make the Indian pickle called Achar, and the Chinese pickle zha cai. The mustard made from the seeds of the Brassica juncea is called brown mustard. The leaves (Raai / Rai in Gujarati) are used in many Indian dishes.

Brassica juncea is more pungent than the closely-related Brassica oleracea greens (kale, cabbage, collard greens, et cetera) and is frequently mixed with these milder greens in a dish of "mixed greens", which may include wild greens such as dandelion. As with other greens in soul food cooking, mustard greens are generally flavored by being cooked for a long period with ham hocks or other smoked pork products. Mustard greens are high in Vitamin A and Vitamin K.

Cantonese-style braised mustard greens, with wolfberries

Chinese and Japanese cuisines also make use of mustard greens. A large variety of B. juncea cultivars are used including zha cai (tatsoi), mizuna, takana (var. integlofolia), juk gai choy, and xuelihong (雪里红 or 雪里蕻). Asian mustard greens are most often stir-fried or pickled. A Southeast Asian dish called asam gai choy or kiam chai boey is often made with leftovers from a large meal. It involves stewing mustard greens with tamarind, dried chillies and leftover meat on the bone.

Food supplement

B. juncea can hyperaccumulate cadmium and many other soil trace elements. Specially cultured, it can be used as a selenium, chromium, iron and zinc food supplement.

Green manure

A bunch of fresh mustard greens from the United States

Vegetable growers sometimes grow mustard as a green manure. Its main purpose is to act as a mulch, covering the soil to suppress weeds between crops. If grown as a green manure, the mustard plants are cut down at the base when sufficiently grown, and left to wither on the surface, continuing to act as a mulch until the next crop is due for sowing, when the mustard is dug in. In the UK, summer and autumn-sown mustard is cut down from October. April sowings can be cut down in June, keeping the ground clear for summer-sown crops. One of the disadvantages of mustard as a green manure is its propensity to harbor club root.


This plant is used to remove heavy metals from the soil in hazardous waste sites because it has a higher tolerance for these substances and stores the heavy metals in its cells. The plant is then harvested and disposed of properly. This method is easier and less expensive than traditional methods for the removal of heavy metals.It also prevents erosion of soil from these sites preventing further contamination.


  1. ^ Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.

Further reading

  • Everitt, J.H.; Lonard, R.L., Little, C.R. (2007). Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press.   ISBN 0-89672-614-2

See also

For other edible plants in the family Brassicaceae, see cruciferous vegetables.

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Brassica juncea


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids II
Ordo: Brassicales
Familia: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: Brassica juncea
Varieties: B. j. var. crispifolia - B. j. var. cuneifolia - B. j. var. foliosa - B. j. var. integrifolia - B. j. var. japonica - B. j. var. juncea - B. j. var. longidens - B. j. var. multiceps - B. j. var. napiformis - B. j. var. rugosa - B. j. var. strumata - B. j. var. tumida


Brassica juncea (L.) Czern.


  • Conspectus Plantarum circa Charcoviam et in Ucrania sponte cresentium et vulgo cultarum 8. 1859 Mar (E. Cosson, Bull. Soc. Bot. France 6(8):609. 1860 Jan)
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]
  • Brassica juncea (L.) Czern. Report on ITIS

Vernacular names

Deutsch: Brauner Senf, Indischer Senf, Sareptasenf, Ruten-Kohl
English: Indian Mustard, Mustard Greens, Leaf Mustard
Français: Moutarde Brune, Moutarde Chinoise
Nederlands: Sareptamosterd
日本語: カラシナ(芥子菜), セイヨウカラシナ(西洋芥子菜)
Polski: Kapusta Sitowata
Русский: Горчица сарептская, или Горчица русская, или Горчица сизая
Svenska: Sarepsasenap
中文: 芥菜
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Category:Brassica juncea on Wikimedia Commons.


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