Did You Know? This Is Mustard!

“Mustard seed pods come in many shapes and sizes, but they always form a raceme on the flower stalk, which looks something like a spiral staircase for the little people. The crushed leaves usually smell something like mustard,” writes Thomas J. Elpel in his book Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification There are 55 genera of mustard in North America, 375 worldwide, and I don’t know which one this is. But I do know it meets the criteria above and it tastes spicy in a good way! I’ve seen it adorning front yards as an apparent ornamental and escaping to take over cracked pavement around telephone poles.

If you come to Sunday’s foraging walk in Portland, you can meet this plant in person — and many more. Info here. Also, I’ve heard about two *free* learning opportunities in the area: ReWild Eugene is running a new tracking group and SOLV is offering a winter plant identification workshop at Portland’s Hoyt Arboretum. They both sound amazing — I hope to be able to attend!

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