Plant tastes like mustard - is it?
November 14, 2011 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Mustardy and garlicky

Can you help me ID this plant (and from this angle) growing wildly in the Mediterranean right now?

Thank you for your help!
posted by watercarrier to Science & Nature (12 answers total)
That looks to me like argula or roquette.
posted by OmieWise at 10:07 AM on November 14, 2011

Sure does look like a member of the brassica genus, which includes mustard, kale, cabbage, and broccoli.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:08 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah its some sort of Brassica/Mustard . You can tell from the flowers. Probably an Eruca aka Arugula/Rocket. But it could be some other family member.
posted by JPD at 10:08 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

If the flowers are lavendar, it looks like the "wild radishes" we have growing around here in California.

It definitely looks like it's in the mustard family, and at least around here none of them are poisonous, if you're thinking of snacking. But there are a zillion kinds of mustards and many of them are nearly impossible to tell apart without their seed pods to differentiate.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:08 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

fwiw, I'd eat it.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:10 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, the leaves are a tad thicker and hairer than the black mustard variety that grows here - though these white flowers ~do~ resemble in shape the yellow blossoms of the black mustard. I don't think it's arugala - isn't arugala more of a thin-leaved plant?
posted by watercarrier at 10:12 AM on November 14, 2011

Oh yeah - it's edible - just wondering about it medicinally and those applications.
posted by watercarrier at 10:13 AM on November 14, 2011

No if anything those leaves are on the thin side for Arugula. There is another variety called "wild arugula" that isn't actually an arugula that has thin leaves.

And Arugula has white flowers like that.

However the furry leaves makes me think it is another Brassica.
posted by JPD at 10:18 AM on November 14, 2011

Some of the mustards around here get furry leaves when they're mature. In fact, maybe most of them? I still vote for the radish. Can you taste the root?
posted by small_ruminant at 10:34 AM on November 14, 2011

It's a very thin root not much flavor but still there's a slight mustard taste. Could it possibly be horseradish? Armoracia rusticana?
posted by watercarrier at 10:40 AM on November 14, 2011

Not Horseradish - the leaves are wrong.

Google Image of Horseradish Leaves
posted by JPD at 10:48 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not horseradish- wild radish. Looks just like mustard except the flowers are white or purple. It's probably really a mustard but tastes radishy.

However, upon further Googling, it's possible it only exists here in Calif.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:53 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

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