Sisymbrium altissimum (Tall Tumble Mustard)

Plant Info
Also known as: Jim Hill Mustard
Family:Brassicaceae (Mustard)
Life cycle:annual, biennial
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; disturbed soil; roadsides, fields, waste areas
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:24 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
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

[photo of flowers] Small clusters of flowers at the end of branching stems that elongate as the plant matures. Flowers are about 1/3 inch across with 4 creamy white to light yellow petals and 6 greenish stamens in the center.

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

[photo of lower leaves] Leaves are up to 8 inches long and 3 inches wide, deeply lobed into narrow segments and may appear to be compound. Basal and lower stem leaves are short stalked, hairy around the edges, coarsely toothed or with smaller lobes on the sides.

[photo of upper leaves] Lobes become longer and narrower as leaves ascend the stem. Upper leaves are finely divided in linear segments, and mostly hairless. Stems are hairy to varying degrees in the lower part of the plant, hairless in the upper plant. Plants typically have numerous branches in a chaotic array, spreading in all directions.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a slender pod 2 to 4 inches long on a 1/3 inch stalk, spreading out to perpendicular to the stem. At the tip of the pod is the brown stub of the style.


A common weed of landscapes, nurseries and waste places, Tall Tumble Mustard is easily recognized at first glance by its open, thread-like mass and pale yellow flowers. The plant becomes brittle when it dries out and can break off at the base, tumbling about in the wind to spread its seed.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Hennepin County.


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

Posted by: Gretchen - Pine County, St. Croix State Park
on: 2013-07-02 14:08:21

Found in East half of park.

Posted by: Dean - School Forest at Forestview Middle School, Baxter, MN
on: 2016-07-01 10:05:18

Has invaded a recently disturbed area where old road project spoils had been deposited. The spoil piles were removed last fall (2015). Piles of topsoil were spread over the disturbed area where grasses and weeds germinated and are growing this summer, including grasses, hoary alyssum, ragweed, and tall tumble mustard, to name a few.

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