Tuesday

History of the Wild Mustard Plant and the Conquistadors

The Wild Mustard One of my favorite stories about herbs involves the Conquistadors. The mustard plant was introduced to the Americas by the conquistadors or their attendant Padres (depending on who you're listening to), who planted the fast sprouting seeds to mark their trails. The fast-flowering plants were seeded to show them a golden road back along their route (the yellow brick road?).

An annual, wild mustard is now widespread throughout America, and can be identified by its small, bright, yellow, broad leaved, four-petalled flowers. Mustard grows to a height of one to two feet, and is considered an invasive weed in many areas. Each plant can produce thousands of seeds, so in areas where it encroaches on agricultural crops, it can be a real pest. (It can be a tricky plant to identify because it shares so many characteristics in common with other wild species.)

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