Discovering the Desert / Preservation

Stabilization project at the Silver Bell Mine

Sahara Mustard (Brassica tournefortii)

Plantae, Anthophyta, Dicotyledoneae, Capparales, Brassicaceae

Invasive plants are a major threat to the park’s landscape, crowding out native plants and providing fuel for increasingly intense wildfires. Sahara Mustard, a highly invasive winter annual, is native to Northern Africa. Botanists believe that this type of mustard first arrived accidentally in the 1920s with a shipment of date palms brought to the Coachella Valley (south of the park) in the early days of the date industry’s development in the United States.

Now widespread throughout Southern California and Arizona, Sahara Mustard overshadows smaller native annual plants, shading them of sunlight and appropriating needed water and nutrients, which can reduce their reproductive ability by 90%.

H 49, W 42 cm
Joshua Tree National Park, JOTR 31848