Sisymbrium loeselii (Tall Hedge Mustard)

Plant Info
Also known as: Small Tumbleweed Mustard
Family:Brassicaceae (Mustard)
Life cycle:annual, biennial
  • Weedy
Habitat:sun; disturbed soil; roadsides, waste areas, fields, railroads
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:2 to 4 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

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

[photo of flowers] Small densely packed rounded clusters at the end of branching stems that elongate as the plant matures. Flowers are about 1/3 inch across, with 4 rounded bright yellow petals and 6 greenish stamens with yellow tips in the center.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are up to 6 inches long and 2½ inches wide, deeply divided into narrow to angular lobes, the tip lobe largest and triangular to arrowhead shaped, with 2 to 4 pairs of lateral lobes that often point backwards. Surfaces are variously hairy, stalks are up to 2 inches long. Edges have irregular, coarse teeth and a fringe of fine hairs. Leaves become smaller and shorter stalked as they ascend the stem.

[photo of stem and leaf hairs] Stems are covered in spreading to downward pointing (deflexed) hairs, especially in the lower plant and may be hairless near the flowers.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a very slender pod ¾ to 1½ inches long, spreading to upward curved, with the brown stub of the style at the tip.


Tall Hedge Mustard is a weed of landscapes, nurseries and waste places that has become more common in the metro in recent years. We suspect it is a lot more widespread than the herbarium records indicate. The yellow mustards can be difficult to distinguish as the flowers all look much the same. Tall Hedge Mustard is most easily distinguished by the triangular terminal lobes on the leaves, hairy stem, 1/3-inch flowers in roundish clusters at branch tips, and spreading to upward-curving pods ¾ to 1½ inch long. Most similar is Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), which has straight, appressed fruit about half the size, flowers also about half the size only a few of which are open on a branch at a time.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Lac Qui Parle and Ramsey counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Hennepin, Lac Qui Parle and Ramsey counties.


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

Posted by: Dan Burns - Princeton
on: 2020-06-02 10:10:50

Multiple specimens observed in southern Mille Lacs County.

Posted by: Dan Burns - Princeton
on: 2020-06-04 14:06:13

What's going on, is that a new walking path, some new sidewalks, and other work was done in this neighborhood last year. The soil they brought in for the final grading is apparently full of seeds. There was Field Pennycress everywhere, which I haven't seen in town before. Now, Tall Hedge Mustard, and there are some other species, in quantity, that haven't bloomed yet but which I'll identify when they do. Fortunately I'm pretty sure there are no uncommon natives right around here to be crowded out by the weedy invasives that have been (presumably unintentionally) introduced.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-06-04 16:16:59

Dan, you should complain to whichever agency (city or county) ordered the work. I saw a similar situation a few years ago when a county park did trail improvements and a contractor dragged in a bunch of weeds. I complained to the county Parks and Rec Dept. and they had the contractor come back and make it right.

Posted by: Suzanne De Young - West St. Paul
on: 2021-06-09 11:06:35

I think I miss identified in the post on Hedge Mustard. I now am sure that what I have is Tall Hedge Mustard. Is this an invasive species which I should get rid of?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2021-06-09 11:56:53

Suzanne, I personally would not want this in my yard. The non-native mustards can be prolific seed producers and you could be dealing with the aftermath for years.

Posted by: Mem Harvey - Crookston, Polk County
on: 2023-06-23 16:59:54

There is one of these growing and flowering on the boulevard outside my house right now.

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