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Musk Mustard (Purple Mustard)

Chorispora tenella

Chorispora tenella

Family: Brassicaceae ( A Utah Flora – Cruciferae) – Mustard Family

Annual herb from a taproot, 0.79” to 1.48' (0.2 to 4.5 dm) tall

Leaves: alternate and basal; simple; 0.2” to 3.4” (0.5 to 8.5 cm) long, 0.04” to 1.12” (0.1 to 2.8 cm) wide; often has hairs

Flowers: 4 pink to lavender petals 0.36” to 0.5” (9 to 12.5 mm) long; 4 sepals; 6 stamens

Pollinators: insects

Fruits: silique (many-seeded capsule)

Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May, June

Habitat in Arches National Park: disturbed areas

Location seen: widespread, Arches National Park Visitor Center area, Cache Valley

Other: The genus name, “Chorispora”, is from the Greek “choris” meaning “separate” and “spora” meaning “seed” referring to the separate fruits. The species name, “tenella”, is from the Latin meaning “quite dainty, delicate”.

This is a non-native plant. The musky odor of this plant is evident.

Many plants in this family are weeds and they flower early because they are annual. Many vegetables are in this family– radish, cabbage, cauliflower. A few species of plants in this family are poisonous to livestock.

Did You Know?

Ed Abbey

Edward Abbey worked as a seasonal park ranger at Arches in the late 1950s. His 1968 memoir of this experience, "Desert Solitaire," has become a classic of desert literature.