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Useful Tropical Plants

Brassica juncea

(L.) Czern.

Brassicaceae


This species has been cultivated as a food crop for many hundreds of years and, in that time, several quite distinct forms have arisen. The nomenclature of these forms is confused, to say the least, and by no means universally accepted. We have followed the treatment used by GRIN, though it is very likely to be revised in the future[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Brassica argyi H.Lév.

Brassica arvensis juncea (L.) Kuntze

Brassica besseriana Andrz. ex Trautv.

Brassica cernua (Thunb.) Matsum.

Brassica chenopodiifolia Sennen & Pau

Brassica integrifolia (H.West.) Rupr.

Brassica japonica (Thunb.) Siebold ex Miq.

Brassica juncea japonica (Thunb.) L.H.Bailey

Brassica lanceolata (DC.) Lange

Brassica napiformis (Pailleux & Bois) L.H.Bailey

Brassica richeri Lange

Brassica rugosa (Roxb.) Prain

Brassica taquetii H.Lév.

Brassica willdenovii Boiss.

Crucifera juncea E.H.L.Krause

Raphanus junceus (L.) Crantz

Rhamphospermum volgense Andrz. ex Rupr.

Sinabraca juncea (L.) G.H.Loos

Sinapis abyssinica A.Braun

Sinapis brassicata L.

Sinapis campestris Jacq. ex Steud.

Sinapis cernua Thunb.

Sinapis chinensis L.

Sinapis cuneifolia Roxb.

Sinapis japonica Thunb.

Sinapis juncea L.

Sinapis lanceolata DC.

Sinapis oleracea C.Presl

Sinapis patens Roxb.

Sinapis ramosa Roxb.

Sinapis rugosa Roxb.

Sinapis sinensis J.F.Gmel.

Sinapis tenella Moench

Sinapis timoriana DC.

Common Name: Brown Mustard

Brassica juncea
A field of cultivated plants
Photograph by: David Prasad
Creative Commons License
Brassica juncea Brassica juncea Brassica juncea

General Information

Brassica juncea is an erect, often unbranched annual to biennial plant growing up to 160cm tall when in flower[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It is the parent of several distinct forms that are grown for food, oil etc - these are described in separate records.
Brown mustard is widely cultivated for its edible seed which is a source of oil; is used to make the condiment 'brown mustard'; and is also sprouted as the mustard of mustard and cress[
50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. It has only 70% of the pungency of black mustard (Brassica nigra) but can be harvested mechanically so is more viable commercially[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. In addition to its edible uses, the plant also has a range of medicinal uses, is grown as a green manure and can be used to remove heavy metals from the soil.

Known Hazards

An oil obtained from the seeds can have a high content of erucic acid. There have been some health concerns over the consumption of high levels of erucic acid n humans, though this is still controversial. At present (2012), several countries only allow cultivars with low erucic acid levels to be used for food.

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Probably originating from the central Asian Himalayas to China, though it has been cultivated for so long that it is not known truly wild

Habitat

Cornfields in Britain[
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitAnnual
Height0.75 m
PollinatorsBees
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Originating from the central Asian Himalayas to China, Brassica juncea has long been cultivated and many forms have been developed (see separate records). Plants can be grown in the tropical lowlands as well as in much cooler conditions[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The plant is reported to tolerate a temperature range of 6 - 37°c and an annual precipitation of 500 - 4,000mm[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Succeeds in full sun in most well-drained moisture-retentive fertile soils[
16
Title
New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Simons.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1977
ISBN
0-14-046-050-0
Description
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
206
Title
Oriental Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom J.
Publisher
John Murray
Year
1991
ISBN
0-7195-4781-4
Description
Well written and very informative.
]. Prefers a heavy soil and some shade[
16
Title
New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Simons.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1977
ISBN
0-14-046-050-0
Description
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
]. Dislikes very hot weather[
33
Title
Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table.
Publication
 
Author
Organ. J.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1960
ISBN
-
Description
Unusual vegetables that can be grown outdoors in Britain. A good guide.
]. Plants tolerate high rainfall and, although fairly deep rooted, are not very drought resistant[
206
Title
Oriental Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom J.
Publisher
John Murray
Year
1991
ISBN
0-7195-4781-4
Description
Well written and very informative.
]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3.
The plant has escaped from cultivation in many areas and can become an invasive weed[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
].
This species has also been cultivated in the Orient for many hundreds of years and a wide diversity of forms has been developed with edible leaves, stems, roots and seeds. These forms have been classified by the botanists as follows and separate entries have been made for each of them.
Brassica juncea integrifolia crispifolia. The curled or cutleaf mustards, this group has attractively curled edible leaves.
Brassica juncea integrifolia rugosa. Large somewhat cabbage-like edible leaves.
Brassica juncea integrifolia strumata. A form with large edible leaf stalks.
Brassica juncea integrifolia subintegrifolia. The leaf mustards have quite large smooth-edged edible leaves.
Brassica juncea japonica. Rather similar to Brassica juncea crispifolia and combined with that group by some botanists.
Brassica juncea napiformis. A form with a swollen edible root.
Brassica juncea tsatsai multiceps. The multishoot mustard group.
Brassica juncea tsatsai tumida. A form with swollen edible stems.
Plants take from 2 - 5 months from sowing to maturity, depending on the season and the cultivar[
206
Title
Oriental Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom J.
Publisher
John Murray
Year
1991
ISBN
0-7195-4781-4
Description
Well written and very informative.
]. They prefer a fairly high stable temperature and are well adapted to short day length[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Many are best grown in warmer climates than Britain but there are several cultivars that grow well in this country[
206
Title
Oriental Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom J.
Publisher
John Murray
Year
1991
ISBN
0-7195-4781-4
Description
Well written and very informative.
].
Plants have a rooting depth of between 90 - 120 cm[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].
A good bee plant[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Edible Uses

Leaves - raw or cooked[
22
Title
Alternative Foods.
Publication
 
Author
Sholto-Douglas. J.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Not very comprehensive, it seems more or less like a copy of earlier writings with little added.
,
33
Title
Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table.
Publication
 
Author
Organ. J.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1960
ISBN
-
Description
Unusual vegetables that can be grown outdoors in Britain. A good guide.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
52
Title
Salads all the Year Round.
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom. J.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1980
ISBN
 
Description
A good and comprehensive guide to temperate salad plants, with full organic details of cultivation.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
]. A peppery flavour that can range from mild to hot, this is one of the most highly prized cooked vegetables in the Orient[
206
Title
Oriental Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom J.
Publisher
John Murray
Year
1991
ISBN
0-7195-4781-4
Description
Well written and very informative.
]. The leaves can also be eaten raw, when finely shredded they make a very acceptable addition to mixed salads[
206
Title
Oriental Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom J.
Publisher
John Murray
Year
1991
ISBN
0-7195-4781-4
Description
Well written and very informative.
]. The protein extracted from the leaves mixes well with banana pulp and is well adapted as a pie filling[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Flowers and young flowering stems - raw or cooked[
52
Title
Salads all the Year Round.
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom. J.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1980
ISBN
 
Description
A good and comprehensive guide to temperate salad plants, with full organic details of cultivation.
]. Sweet and succulent[
133
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
].

An edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
,
57
Title
Plants for Man.
Publication
 
Author
Schery. R. W.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The seed contains 25 - 30% oil[
74
Title
Flora of the USSR.
Publication
 
Author
Komarov. V. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Israel Program for Scientific Translation
Year
1968
ISBN
-
Description
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The seed is used as a mustard flavouring[
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
]. It is the source of 'brown mustard'[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
], a prepared mustard that is milder than that produced from other species[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. Pungency of mustard develops when cold water is added to the ground-up seed - an enzyme (myrosin) acts on a glycoside (sinigrin) to produce a sulphur compound. The reaction takes 10 - 15 minutes. Mixing with hot water or vinegar, or adding salt, inhibits the enzyme and produces a mild bitter mustard[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. Black mustard comes from B. nigra and white mustard from Sinapis alba.

The seed is also used whole in curries and pickles[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. They are often heated in oil to destroy their pungency and give them a nutty flavour[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].

The root of some forms of this species is edible[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Sprouted seeds can be added to salads.

Medicinal

Although not usually used medicinally, the seed is a warming stimulant herb with antibiotic effects[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
Reported to be anodyne, aperitif, diuretic, emetic, rubefacient, and stimulant, Brown Mustard is a folk remedy for arthritis, foot ache, lumbago, and rheumatism[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

The seed is used in the treatment of tumours in China[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. In Korea, the seeds are used in the treatment of abscesses, colds, lumbago, rheumatism, and stomach disorders[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

The root is used as a galactagogue in Africa[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].
Ingestion may impart a body odour repellent to mosquitoes[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

Mustard oil is used in the treatment of skin eruptions and ulcers[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. Believed to be aperient and tonic, the volatile oil is used as a counterirritant and stimulant[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

In Java the plant is used as an antisyphilitic emmenagogue[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

Leaves applied to the forehead are said to relieve headache[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].
The Chinese eat the leaves in soups for bladder, inflammation or haemorrhage[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

There is some evidence that if this plant is grown as a green manure it is effective in reducing soil-borne root rots in pea crops[
206
Title
Oriental Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom J.
Publisher
John Murray
Year
1991
ISBN
0-7195-4781-4
Description
Well written and very informative.
]. This is attributed to chemicals that are given off as the plants decay[
206
Title
Oriental Vegetables
Publication
 
Author
Larkcom J.
Publisher
John Murray
Year
1991
ISBN
0-7195-4781-4
Description
Well written and very informative.
].
Brassica juncea has been found to have a high potential to remediate cadmium, lead and zinc from polluted environments. It is especially effective with lead, which it concentrates in the roots and greatly restricts its translocation to the shoots. This plant can therefore be grown in environments that are contaminated with heavy metals, after which the plant biomass can be harvested and burned to ash to recover the metals or to be disposed of appropriately and safely[
1111
Title
Phytoremediation of Cadmium, Lead and Zinc by Brassica juncea L. Czern and Coss
Publication
Journal of Applied Biosciences (2009), Vol. 13: 726 - 736
Author
Anamika S., Susan Eapen and M.H.Fuleka
Website
http://www.biosciences.elewa.org
Publisher
 
Year
2009
ISBN
1997-5902
Description
A paper showing the effectiveness of Brassica juncea in taking up heavy metals from polluted soils
].
The plant can be used as bioremediator to reduce boron and selenium levels in contaminated soils[
1519
Title
Boron and Selenium Removal in Boron-Laden Soils by Four Sprinkler Irrigated Plant Species
Publication
Journal of Environmental Quality Vo 22, No 4, pp 786-792, 1992
Author
Bañuelos G.S. et al
Website
doi:10.2134/jeq1993.00472425002200040021x
Publisher
 
Year
1992
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Other Uses

An oil is obtained from the seed[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It can be used as hair oil and as lubricant. The oil of cultivars bred for extra high erucic acid content is used for industrial purposes[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. A peculiar use of mustard oil is to retard the fermentation process when making cider from apples[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow in situ. Germination takes place within 5 days at 20 - 25°c[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2021-01-18. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Brassica+juncea>

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