Indian Hedge Mustard

Sisymbrium orientale L.

Synonyms - Sisymbrium columnae

Family: Brassicaceae.


Sisymbrium was the Greek name of a fragrant herb.
Indian Hedge Mustard

Other names:

Eastern Rocket
Hedge Mustard.
Wild Mustard (WA)


A grey green, variably hairy, annual or biennial, bushy plant with deeply lobed leaves and 4-petalled, yellow flowers from February to November with a flush in spring. It has very long (40-120 mm) slender pods at right angles to the stem. The middle stem leaves are usually arrow shaped.



Two, lean against each other (incumbent). Oval, 5-8 mm long, tip slightly indented on a 5-8 mm long stalk (petiole). Hairless or with a few long hairs. The seedling has a short hypocotyl and no epicotyl.

First Leaves:

Arise singly, oval with an acute tip and toothed edges, 8-12 mm long, on an 8-12 mm long petiole. Few longish hairs. Later leaves are longer and more deeply lobed.


Forms a short lived basal rosette of leaves, 200-300 mm in diameter that wither or are carried up the stem as it elongates.
Stipules - None.
Petiole - 50-70 mm long on basal leaves.
Blade - 55-200 mm long x 20-45 mm wide, deeply lobed, usually 4 pairs of lobes, end lobe is larger than the triangular side lobes that tend to point towards the base of the leaf. All lobes have erect or spreading ear like appendages at their bases. Tip rounded to pointed. Base tapered to squarish. Leaves dry up and fall off with age. Few hairs.
Stem leaves - Alternate. Similar to rosette leaves. Lower ones, 50-200 mm long x 20-45 mm wide, stalked with 1-4 pairs of lobes with fine hairs on the upper and lower surfaces. Middle ones arrow shaped, often with two, slender basal lobes and variably hairy. Upper ones often not lobed and hairless.


Grey green, slender, erect, round, solid with a pithy core, up to 1300 mm tall and usually woody. Hairy near base, often hairless near top. Fine, soft, bent back hairs on the young stems. Much branched with the branches at 45 degrees to the main stem. Wiry when dry.

Flower head:

Flowers borne in clusters near the tops of stems in an elongated paniculate racemes. Stems elongate as pods form and new flowers are added to the cluster on top.


Yellow, 3-10 mm diameter on spreading stalks (pedicels).
Ovary - Stigma entire and stalkless.
Sepals - 4, erect, 3-5 mm long, hairy. Alternate with the petals.
Petals - 4, pale yellow, 5-10 mm long.
Stamens -
Anthers -


40-120 mm long x 1-1.5 mm wide, cylindrical, slender, rigid, 2 celled capsule, curved or straight on 3-10 mm long stalks (pedicels) that are almost as thick as the fruit. Sticks out from the stem at 45-900. Sparsely hairy when young. Valves thick walled and 3 nerved. Opens from base to release seed when ripe. Single row of seeds. About 60 seeds per cell or 120 per pod.


Small, brown, narrowly egg shaped to oblong and not flattened, 1 mm long x 0.6 mm wide. Rounded on the back and often indented on the inner two faces. Surface finely dimpled with longitudinal rows of tiny warts and hairless. Many seeds that are arranged in 1 row.



Key Characters:

Cotyledons incumbent.
Hairs simple or absent.
Leaves smooth and hairless or with scattered hairs.
Petals pale yellow, 5-10 mm long, not twisted, rarely more than twice as long as the sepals.
Pod spreading, 60-120 mm long x 1-1.5 mm wide, slender, cylindrical or terete, 3 nerved, dehiscent, not beaked and persistent style very short, at least 3 times long as broad, seeds 1 rowed.
Pedicels short, usually less than 8 mm long, almost as thick as the fruit.
Valves with prominent midrib, compressed from the back.
Adapted from J.M. Black, N.T. Burbidge and B.L. Rye.


Life cycle:

Annual or biennial. Seeds germinates from autumn to winter with some in spring. It grows mainly in autumn and spring. Flowers mainly in spring but odd flowers may occur at almost any time. Seed shed in early summer. It usually dies off in summer but some plants may survive into their second season in moist areas.



By seed.

Flowering times:

February to November but mainly in spring.
September to December in SA.
March to October with a flush in August to October in Perth.
Mid winter to early summer in WA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:



Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Produces large amounts of seed.
Spread by seed.

Origin and History:

Southern Europe. Mediterranean. North Africa. Western Asia.


In all parts of Tasmania.
Widespread in the wheat belt of WA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.



Temperate. Mediterranean.


Most soil types.

Plant Associations:

In Bimble Box, Black Box and Bladder Salt Bush communities.



Does not host Root Lesion Nematode (Pratylenchus neglectus or thornei) (Vanstone and Russ, 2001b).


Weed of crops, pastures, orchards, fallows, roadsides, stock yards, stock camps, swamp margins, grazed woodlands and disturbed areas.
Causes yield reductions due to competition.
Wiry stems blocks cereal harvesters.
Relatively unpalatable.


Not recorded as toxic.



Management and Control:


Eradication strategies:

Manually remove isolated plants.
Prevent seed set. Spray small infested areas with 10 g/ha Eclipse® plus 500mL/ha of Brodal® plus 1% spray oil in winter each year.
Most of the Brassicaceae weeds have dormant seeds that continue to germinate throughout the season and for several years. They often mature and set seed very quickly. Manual removal is effective but must be done at least every 8-10 weeks. Once pods are formed, seed will often mature even if the plant has been uprooted. Soil disturbance often leads to a flush of seedlings.
Many are somewhat unpalatable, so grazing only offers partial control. They often flourish in under-grazed, sunny areas.
In bushland situations, fairly selective control can be achieved with 100 mL spray oil plus 0.1 g Eclipse® or 0.5 g Logran® in 10 L water. 5 mL Brodal® is often added to this mix to provide residual control of seedlings. Spray the plants until just wet from the seedling stage up to pod formation.
Isolated plants should be removed manually and burnt if flowering or seeding and a 10 m buffer area sprayed with 10 mL Brodal® in 10 L water.
500 mL/ha of glyphosate(450g/L) can be used at flowering to reduce the seed set of most species on roadsides without causing significant damage to most native plants.
Wick application with 1 part glyphosate(450g/L) in 2 parts water or overall spraying with 100 mL glyphosate(450g/L) in 10 L water provides reasonable control of most Brassicaceae species though Wild Radish tends to regrow.

Herbicide resistance:

Some populations are resistant to Group B (sulfonylurea) herbicides.

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Flax-leaf Alyssum (Alyssum linifolium)
Wall Cress (Arabidopsis thaliana)

Black Mustard (Brassica nigra)
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica)
Brussels Sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera)
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis)
Chinese Cabbage (Brassica chinensis)
Indian Mustard (Brassica juncea)
Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)
Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes)
Mediterranean Turnip (Brassica tournefortii)
Rape or Canola (Brassica napus var. napus)
Rapeseed (Brassica rapa var. sylvestris)
Savoy cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. sabauda)
Smooth Stemmed Turnip (Brassica barrelieri subsp. oxyrrhina was Brassica oxyrrhina)
Swede (Brassica napus var. napobrassica)
Turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapa)
Twiggy Turnip (Brassica fruticulosa)
Winter Rape (Brassica napus var. biennis)
Brassica elongata

Sea Rocket (Cakile maritima)
White Ball Mustard (Calepina irregularis)
Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
Common Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)
Wood Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa) is not in WA.
Ward's Weed (Carrichtera annua)
Wall Rocket (Diplotaxis muralis)
Sand Rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia)
Heliophila pusilla
Oval Purse (Hornungia procumbens was Hymenobolus procumbens)

Argentine Peppercress (Lepidium bonariense) is often found around granite rocks.
Common Peppercress (Lepidium africanum) is common in WA.
Field Cress (Lepidium campestre) has clasping stem leaves.
Garden Cress (Lepidium sativa)
Hoary Cress (Lepidium draba was Cardaria draba)
Lesser Swinecress (Lepidium didymum was Coronopus didymus)
Matted Peppercress (Lepidium pubescens)
Perennial Peppercress (Lepidium latifolium)
Virginian Peppercress (Lepidium virginicum)
(Lepidium oxytrichum)
(Lepidium perfoliatum)

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Common Stock (Matthiola incana)
Night-scented Stock (Matthiola longipetala)
Muskweed (Myagrum perfoliatum) is not in WA.
Ball mustard (Neslia paniculata)

Cultivated Radish (Raphanus sativus).
Sea Radish (Raphanus maritimus).

Turnip Weed (Rapistrum rugosum)
Watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum)
White Mustard (Sinapis alba) has white seed.
Charlock (Sinapis arvensis)

Sisymbrium altissimum is not in WA.
Smooth Mustard (Sisymbrium erysimoides)
London Rocket (Sisymbrium irio)
Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale)
Indian Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium orientale)0
Sisymbrium runcinatum
African Turnip Weed (Sisymbrium thellungii) is not in WA.

Succowia balearica is in Kings Park in Perth.

Plants of similar appearance:

Wild Radish, Wild Turnips and Mustards.
Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale) is almost identical in the seedling stage. At the rosette stage it has a an short and rounded end lobe on the leaf. When mature it has a smaller flower and shorter pod that is held close to the stem.
London Rocket (Sisymbrium irio) is similar but has more and shorter pods that are more closely clustered.


Auld, B.A. and Medd R.W. (1992). Weeds. An illustrated botanical guide to the weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P137 139. Diagram. Photos.

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P374. Diagram.

Burbidge, N.T. and Gray, M. (1970). Flora of the Australian Capital Territory. (Australian National University Press, Canberra). P181, 185. Diagram.

Cunningham, G.M., Mulham, W.E., Milthorpe, P.L. and Leigh, J.H. (1992). Plants of Western New South Wales. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P335. Photo.

Gilbey, D. (1989). Identification of weeds in cereal and legume crops. Bulletin 4107. (Western Australian Department of Agriculture , Perth). P16. Diagram. Photos.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P122. Photo.

Hyde-Wyatt, B.H. and Morris, D.I. (1975). Tasmanian weed handbook. (Tasmanian Department of Agriculture, Hobart, Tasmania). P46-47. Diagrams.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #1137.4.

Marchant, N.G., Wheeler, J.R., Rye, B.L., Bennett, E.M., Lander, N.S. and Macfarlane, T.D. (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P169.

Wilding, J.L. et al. (1987). Crop weeds. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P88-89. Diagrams. Photos.


Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or for more information.