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Brassica nigra: Wikis


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

Brassica nigra (black mustard) is an annual weedy plant cultivated for its seeds, which are commonly used as a spice.



The plant is believed to be native to the southern Mediterranean region of Europe, and has been cultivated for thousands of years.

The spice is generally made from ground seeds of the plant, with the seed coats removed. The small (1 mm) seeds are hard and vary in color from dark brown to black. They are flavorful, although they have almost no aroma. The seeds are commonly used in Indian cuisine, for example in curry, where it is known as 'rai'. The seeds are usually thrown into hot oil or ghee after which they pop, releasing a characteristic 'nutty' flavor. The seeds have a significant amount of fatty oil. This oil is used often as cooking oil in India.

In Ethiopia, where is it cultivated as a vegetable in Gondar, Harar and Shewa, the shoots and leaves are consumed cooked and the seeds used as a spice. Its Amharic name is Senafitch.[1]

Ground seeds of the plant mixed with honey are widely used in eastern Europe as cough suppressant. In Eastern Canada, the use of "mouche de moutarde" to treat respiratory infections was popular before the advent of modern medicine. It consisted in mixing ground mustard seeds with flour and water, and creating a cataplasm with the paste. This cataplasm was put on the chest or the back and left until the person felt a stinging sensation.

The plant itself can grow from 2 to 8 feet tall with racemes of small yellow flowers. These flowers are usually up to 1/3" across, with 4 petals each. Its leaves are covered in small hairs. The leaves can wilt on hot days, but recover at night.

Since the 1950s, black mustard has become less popular as compared to India mustard because some cultivars of India mustard have seeds that can be mechanically harvested in a more efficient manner.

It is theorized that black mustard is the seed mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 13:31-32.[2]

Similar plants

Despite their similar common names, black mustard and white mustard (genus Sinapis) are not closely related. Black mustard belongs to the same genus as cabbage.

See also

External links


  1. ^ Zemede Asfaw, "Conservation and use of traditional vegetables in Ethiopia", Proceedings of the IPGRI International Workshop on Genetic Resources of Traditional Vegetables in Africa (Nairobi, 29–31 August 1995)
  2. ^ Post, George Edward (1900). "Mustard". in James Hastings. A Dictionary of the Bible.  


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies



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 nigra


Brassica nigra (L.) W.D.J.Koch


  • J. C. Röing, Deutschl. Fl. ed. 3, 4:713. 1833
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]

Vernacular names

Deutsch: Schwarzer Senf
English: Black Mustard
Français: Moutarde Noire
Italiano: Senape Nera
Nederlands: Zwarte mosterd
‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Svartsennep
Polski: Gorczyca Czarna, Kapusta Czarna, Kapusta Gorczyca
Português: Mostarda-preta
Русский: Горчица чёрная, или Горчица французкая, или Горчица настоящая
Svenska: Svartsenap
Türkçe: Kara Hardal
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Brassica nigra on Wikimedia Commons.


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