(L.) All. (Bastard cabbage )
Family: Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)
Description: Bastard cabbage is an annual, many-branched, herbaceous plant that grows from 1 to 5 feet or more in height. It has a robust taproot that can become quite large and deep-rooted. Leaves are deep green, lobed and wrinkled, and sometimes have a reddish cast. The terminal lobe is larger than the lateral lobes, especially on the basal leaves. Younger leaves growing higher up on the plant are less lobed and more elongated. Bastard cabbage typically flowers from early spring into summer, bearing clusters of small, showy yellow flowers at the tips of its branches, resembling those of broccoli and cabbage. Bastard cabbage can be identified more easily and certainly by its unusually shaped fruit - a two-segmented seed capsule, called a silique. The seed capsule is stalked, with a long beak at the tip, and contains 1-2 seeds. The seeds are oval-shaped, dark brown, smooth, and tiny (about 1/16-inch).
History: It is uncertain how bastard cabbage was introduced into the U.S. It appears to spread through contaminated grass seed mixes or mulching materials. Seeds are similar in size to those of wheat and rye, weed seed screens may fail to remove it from grass seed mixes.
Biology & Spread: Bastard cabbage seeds germinate early in the growing season (late fall or early winter) and quickly cover the ground with a blanket of leafy rosettes (circles of leaves at ground level). These dense rosettes block sunlight from reaching seeds and seedlings of native plants.
Ecological Threat: Bastard cabbage is an early successional plant that develops a broad, robust mass of basal leaves, which allows it to successfully outcompete native plant species. In some places, it forms a monoculture (a vegetative cover of mostly one species). Annual bastard-cabbage has long been established on agricultural fields, roadsides, and disturbed lands and is becoming invasive in natural areas such as open forests and along streams.
US Habitat: Bastard cabbage grows mostly in open sites on disturbed soils, including roadsides, ditches, and agricultural areas.
Management: Mowing will remove some flowers and reduce seed stocks. A preferred method is to remove the whole plant including the taproot.
USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS. MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.
Last Updated: 2012-03-28 by LBJWFC