Hedge Mustard

©Northeast Wildlife

Hedge mustard

Scientific name: Sisymbrium officinale
Hedge mustard is a tall plant with small, yellow flowers atop tough stems. It likes disturbed ground and grows in hedgerows and roadside verges, and on waste ground.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 1m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to October

About

Loved by caterpillars, Hedge mustard grows in hedgerows, on roadside verges and waste ground, and at field edges - anywhere the ground has been disturbed. Small, yellow flowers appear from May to October on tangled, wiry stems.

How to identify

Hedge mustard grows in a loose, candelabra-like shape. The leaves at the bottom of Hedge Mustard plants grow in a rosette shape, while those further up the stem are narrower. The flowers are small and yellow and grow at the tip of tough stems.

Distribution

Found throughout the UK, but scarce in the far north of Scotland.

Did you know?

The Ancient Greeks believed that Hedge Mustard was an antidote to all poisons. Nowadays, its edible leaves and seeds are used in salads in Europe, but it's White mustard and Black mustard that tend to be cultivated to make popular condiments from their seeds.

How people can help

Although they might not look especially wildlife-friendly, our roadside verges, railway cuttings and waste grounds can provide valuable habitats for all kinds of plants and animals. The Wildlife Trusts are involved in many projects to make these places as beneficial for wildlife as possible. We have a vision of a Living Landscape: a network of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.