BRASSICACEAE (Cruciferae) - Mustard Family
Herbs with odorous, water juice, annuals, biennials, and
The chemicals produced by this family are mustard-oil glycosides
(glucosinolates) which defend the plants against microrganisms and
animals. They can poison livestock if eaten in sufficient
Leaves alternate, simple, often dissected, stipules absent
actinomorphic, usually in racemes
Androecium of 6
stamens, 4 long and 2 short
Corolla of 4 petals arranged in a cross, hence Cruciferae
Fruit a silique (long) or a
silicle (short) - modified
capsule dehiscing by 2 lateral valves having a central septum
350 genera, 3000 species
Brassicaceae is a sharply defined and readibly recognized family,
however, genera are ill-defined
- brussel sprouts, broccoli, mustard, cabbage, cauliflower,
turnips, kohlrabi, kale
Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kohlrabi all
originated from the same species, Brassica oleracea, by
mutations that affected "normal" development. If these cultivated
plants are grown for long periods of time or in warm conditions, they
will resume normal growth. So while these cultivated plants look very
different, they are very closely related.
Brussel sprouts - elongation of axillary buds inhibited.
Broccoli - flower and inflorescence development inhibited.
Cabbages - internode elongation inhibited.
Cauliflower - flowers sterile and inflorescence development
Kohlrabi - Apical meristem inhibited and lateral meristem
some ornamentals and weeds
Medicinal uses - contains factors that may prevent cancers,
leaves used for rheumatism, toothaches, seeds for headache and tonic.
Mustard oils can cause skin irritation and ulcers from both external
application and consumption.
Diagnostic characteristics: herbs, infl. a raceme, stamens 4+2,
fruit a silicle or silique.