Raphanus raphanistrum (Jointed Charlock)

Plant Info
Also known as: Wild Radish
Family:Brassicaceae (Mustard)
Life cycle:annual
Habitat:sun; disturbed soil, waste places, cultivated fields, gardens
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:12 to 30 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Elongating loose cluster of stalked flowers at the ends of branching stems. Flowers are ½ to ¾ inch across with 4 paddle to spatula-shaped petals, the petal veins often distinct. Flower color is variable, often light yellow but ranging in shades of white, pink and yellow.

[photo of sepals] Sepals are narrow, lance shaped, smooth waxy surface with sparse, stiff hairs towards tip. Flower stalks are about ½ inch long, spreading to ascending.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: compound Leaf type: lobed

[photo of lower leaves] Basal leaves are oblong-elliptic to spatula-shaped in outline, up to 8 inches long and 2 inches wide, with a large round lobe at the tip and smaller, deep lobes towards the stalk. Stem leaves are alternate, becoming shorter and less lobed as they ascend the stem, upper leaves nearly lance-elliptic with irregular, shallowly lobed or toothed edges that may also have a few stiff hairs. Stems branch freely, are green and smooth, sometimes with a few scattered stiff hairs especially towards the base.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a 1-1½ inch long pod on a short stalk, mostly erect or slightly curved. When young they make a smooth round cylinder with a long tapered beak at the tip, but become constricted between the seeds when mature. The surface of the pod is typically smooth.


Also called Wild Radish, Jointed Charlock is not a naturalized version of the cultivated radish (Raphanus sativa), but a close relative. There are few herbarium records for this species in Minnesota and most of the sites used for our distribution map come from personal observations, all of them in the Anoka sandplain and all of them in sandy cultivated field settings. Perhaps it is a relatively new arrival here but in many western states and also noted in Australia, natural hybrids between Jointed Charlock and the cultivated radish have produced very aggressive invasive weeds that tolerate a great variation of natural habitats. Be on the lookout.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Sherburne County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka, Chisago, Sherburne and Washington counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Nora - Pine River, MN
on: 2014-07-27 13:20:22

I believe I found some of this recently, but it doesn't seem to be in this area based on the map. It is relatively close to large gardens that grow radishes, could I be looking at the right thing? Is there any other plant that looks like wild radish? It looks exactly like the flowers posted here.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2014-07-27 14:45:45

Nora, while there are many mustard species with yellow flowers, the size of the flower, the shape and positioning of the fruits, and shape of the leaves are all other characteristics to look at to confirm what you have. And don't be fooled by the map - lots of weeds are under-reported in the state. Can you believe there are no dandelions in at least 6 MN counties???

Posted by: Ian Y - Hennepin County (Minneapolis)
on: 2017-09-10 21:22:38

The white-flowered variant showed up as a couple volunteers in my garden in Hennepin county. I've torn them out, but clearly they've made it at least this far.

Posted by: Crystal - Sauk Rapids
on: 2020-06-21 14:07:05

I found this(I think) by my pumpkin patch in my yard. They took over like crazy. Should I leave them grown or pull out?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-06-21 16:26:45

Crystal, it's a weed that you've already discovered will reseed like crazy if left on its own. So yes, pull it out.

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