The Brassica family and their useful plants; Part 3

Cakile maritima or Sea Rocket as growing on the Lizard peninsula, Cornwall (Matt Summers)

Mostly the yellow flowered plants in the Brassica or Crucifer family were covered in the previous Part 2.

In Part 3, I will write about the pink and/or white flowered Crucifers which inhabit these Isles.

I follow the order of The Wild Flower Key as this has useful pictures which make identifying this somewhat unfamiliar and confusing family a lot easier!

I use the Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora link on the First, italic, scientific names, so you can find out where it is likely to be found growing in the wild. You can also find other useful information here, especially its growing habitat and conditions!

On the Common Name link you can also find more information as well as useful pictures. Pictures in this post are by Matt Summers, Mike Poulton and sourced through Wikipedia Common with thanks.

Please use Jump-links in contents to read more about the individual genera & species on the next page!


Group 5: Pink and/or white flowered Crucifers with elongated fruits.

Matthiola, Hesperis, Cakile & Lunaria
  • Matthiola incana or Hoary Stock
  • Matthiola sinuata or Sea Stock
  • Hesperis matronalis or Dame’s-violet
  • Cakile maritima or Sea Rocket
  • Lunaria annua or Honesty
  • Cardamine bulbifera or Coralroot
  • Cardamine pratensis or Cuckooflower (Lady’s-smock)
  • Cardamine flexuosa or Wavy Bitter-cress
  • Cardamine hirsuta or Hairy Bitter-cress
  • Cardamine impatiens or Narrow-leaved Bitter-cress
  • Cardamine amara or Large Bitter-cress
  • Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum or Water-cress
  • Rorippa microphylla or Narrow-fruited Water-cress
Arabis & Arabidopsis
  • Arabis hirsuta or Hairy Rock-cress
  • Arabis alpina or Alpine Rockcress
  • Arabis scabra or Bristol Rock-cress
  • Arabidopsis petraea or Northern Rock-cress
  • Arabidopsis thaliana or Thale Cress
Alliaria petiolata or Jack-by-the-Hedge/ Garlic Mustard
Draba & Drabella
  • Draba incana or Hoary Whitlowgrass
  • Draba norvegica or Rock Whitlowgrass
  • Draba aizoides or Yellow Whitlowgrass
  • Drabella muralis or Wall Whitlowgrass

Group 6: White flowered Crucifers with short fruits

  • Thlaspi perfoliatum or Cotswold (Perfoliate) Penny-cress
  • Thlaspi caerulescens or Alpine Penny-cress
  • Thlaspi arvense or Field Penny-cress
  • Lepidium campestre or Field Pepperwort
  • Lepidium heterophyllum or Smith’s Pepperwort
  • Lepidium sativum or Garden Cress
  • Lepidium ruderale or Narrow-leaved Pepperwort
  • Lepidium draba or Hoary Cress
  • Lepidium latifolium or Dittander
Coronopus & Teesdalia
  • Coronopus squamatus or Swine-cress
  • Coronopus didymus or Lesser Swine-cress
  • Teesdalia nudicaulis or Shepard’s Cress
Capsella, Iberis, Erophila
  • Capsella bursa-pastoris or Shepard’s-purse
  • Iberis amara or Wild Candytuft
  • Erophila verna or Common Whitlowgrass
Cochlearia, Lobularia, Hornungia
  • Cochlearia officinalis agg or Common Scurvygrass
  • Cochlearia danica or Danish scurvygrass
  • Cochlearica anglica or English Scurvygrass/ Long-leaved Scurvygrass
  • Lobularia maritima or Sweet Alison
  • Hornungia petraea or Hutchinsia

Group 7: White flowered Crucifers with very large leaves

Crambe & Armoracia
  • Crambe maritima or Sea-kale
  • Armoracia rusticana or Horse-radish
Continue reading “The Brassica family and their useful plants; Part 3”

The Brassica family and their useful plants; Part 2

In this post some more useful members of the Brassica or Crucifer family. It covers most of the yellow flowered ones!

Wild Cabbage at Old Harry Rocks, Dorset
Wild Cabbage growing near Old Harry Rocks in Dorset! (by Matt Summers)

Family 87: the Brassica, Crucifer or Cabbage Family, scientifically known as the Brassicaceae, has approx 52 genera according to Stace! Not all are strictly native but it is an important family for our well known vegetables such as all types of cabbages, radishes, and root vegetables such as Swedes and Turnips!

These are the plants I covered earlier in Part 1- just to give a small variety of useful Crucifers!

I use colour coding for easy reading! Blue background is general information about the plant from Online Atlas. Green is about all the uses except for medicinal uses or if there is a warning in which case I use a pink background. This time most pictures are from Wikipedia and illustrations by Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen , Johann Georg Sturm (Painter: Jacob Sturm) – Figures from Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen at, Public Domain as well as other illustrations as added in links.

Please use the Jump-links in the Contents in order to get easily to the plants described on next page!


How to identify the Brassicas/Crucifers and the 7 main groups

Group 1: yellow flowered Crucifers with jointed fruits
  • Brassica oleracea or Wild Cabbage
  • Brassica nigra or Black Mustard
  • Brassica rapa or Turnip
  • Brassica napus or Rape
  • Coincya monensis ssp. monensis or Isle-of-Man Cabbage
  • Coincya wrightii or Lundy Cabbage
  • Sinapis alba subsp. dissecta or White Mustard
  • Sinapis arvensis or Charlock
  • Diplotaxis muralis or Annual Wall-rocket
  • Diplotaxis tenuifolia or Perennial Wall-rocket
Sisymbrium officinale or Hedge Mustard
Hirschfeldia incana or Hoary Mustard
  • Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. raphanistrum or Wild Radish
  • R. raphanistrum subsp. maritimus or Sea Radish
Group 2: yellow or orange flowered Crucifers with elongated fruits
  • Barbarea vulgaris or Winter-cress
  • Barbara stricta or Small-flowered Winter-cress
Erysimum cheiranthoides or Treacle-mustard
Descurainia sophia or Flixweed
  • Sisymbrium altissimum or Tall Rocket
  • Sisymbrium orientale or Eastern Rocket
Group 3: yellow flowers in erect racemes, petals very small compared with other yellow Crucifers.
  • Rorippa sylvestris or Creeping Yellow-cress
  • Rorippa palustris or Marsh yellow-cress
  • Rorippa islandica or Northern Yellow-cress
  • Rorippa amphibia or Great Yellow-cress
Erysimum cheiri or Wallflower
Isatis tinctoria or Woad
Group 4: yellow flowers and fruit not obviously composed of 2 parallel valves.
Rapistrum rugosum or Bastard Cabbage
Continue reading “The Brassica family and their useful plants; Part 2”