Musk Mustard (Purple Mustard)
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
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?
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.