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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 21:21 EDT

Sahara Mustard, Brassica tournefortii

Brassica tournefortii is a species of mustard plant that is more commonly known as Asian, African and Sahara mustard. It is very similar to other mustard species blooming annually with long stems reaching just over 3 feet in length, but the flowers are a duller yellow. Indigenous to North Africa and the Middle East, this species was transported accidentally to the United States by humans. It grows abundantly in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts and in hot valleys of southern California. Because the seeds become tacky when wet, they easily stick to passersby.

It is an invasive plant choking out its competitors for water. It can absorb water in the soil before any other plants and produces seed more quickly than other species do. It can self-fertilize and can withstand extreme conditions including fires and droughts. The plant can pull away from the ground like tumbleweed and disperse seeds as it is blown across the desert.

Sahara Mustard Brassica tournefortii