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African Mustard

Malcolmia africana

Malcolmia africana

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

Annual herbs; often with pungent watery juice or peppery sap; stems 1.2” to 1.3' (3 to 40 centimeters) tall

Leaves: basal and alternate; simple; hairy; toothed along margin; 0.48” to 3.6” (1.2 to 9 cm) long; 0.12” to 0.92” (0.3 to 2.3 cm) wide

Flowers: 4 pink to lavender petals in the shape of a cross or crucifer; 4 sepals (pink, purple or reddish); usually 6 stamens (with 2 outer shorter than the inner 4), sometimes 2 or 4; 1 pistil; nectar glands commonly 4; flowers 0.25” to 0.38” (6.2 to 9.5 mm) wide; flowers in a raceme

Pollinators: other genera in this family are pollinated by insects (specifically butterflies, moths, bees, flies); some self-fertile

Fruits: silique (many-seeded capsule) - a pod with 2 compartments with a thin partition

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

Habitat in Arches National Park: roadsides, foothills, and disturbed areas

Location seen: widespread, Arches National Park Visitor Center area, Courthouse Towers, Windows, outside Arches National Park in Mill Creek

Other: The genus name, “Malcolmia, honors William Malcolm (1778-1805), a British horticulturalist, and the species name, “africana, is named for this non-native weed's home continent of Africa.

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?

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch is the longest arch in Arches National Park, measuring 306 feet from base to base. In 1991, a massive slab of rock fell from its underside, resulting in an even thinner ribbon of rock.