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Wild Turnip

Brassica rapa subsp. sylvestris  (L.) Lam. & Janchen  (Fam: BRASSICACEAE.)

Published date of profile: Mar-2003.
Citation: Mifsud S., (Mar-2003) Brassica rapa subsp. sylvestris on MaltaWildPlants.com

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Nomenclature Morphology
Plant Description and Characters Plant Information and Uses
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Nomenclature

Species name:

Brassica rapa subsp. sylvestris   (L.) Lam. & Janchen

Author(s):

Carl von Linné, Sweden, 1707-1778 ;
Jean Baptiste A. P. de Monnet de Lamarck, France, 1744-1829 ;
Erwin Emil Alfred Janchen, Austria, 1882-1970

Common names:

Wild Turnip, Bargemann's Cabbage

Maltese name:

Liftija

Plant Family:

Brassicaceae   (Mustard (Cress) Family)

Name Derivation:

Brassica = Cabbage (Latin)
rapa subsp. sylvestris = Turnip (Latin); Sylvestris means wild (Latin)

Synonyms:

Brassica campestris, Brassica rapa ssp. campestris

Remarks:

-


Morphology and structure

PLANT STRUCTURE:

Character

Growth Form

Branching

Surface

Description

Erect :

Upright, vertically straight up well clear off the ground.

Moderately Branched :

Considerable number of secondary branches along the main stem.

Pubescent :

Covered with soft short hairs often pointing downwards.

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

LEAVES:

Character

Arrangement

Attachment

Venation

Description

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)
 

Character

Leaf Shape

Leaf Margin

Remarks

Description

Ovate :

Oval shape, being broadest at the lower third and having rounded ends, hence like the shape of an egg.

Serrate :

Sharp pointed teeth, oblique (inclined) to the margin, pointing apically like a saw.

Sagittate :

Leaf base has two pointed lobes resembling the base of an arrrow.

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

FLOWERS:

Character

Colour

Basic Flower Type

No. of Petals

No. of Sepals

Description

Bright Yellow

Cruciform :

A flower with four petals at right angles to each other forming a shape of a cross.

4

4

General
Picture

  Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)
 

Character

Inflorescence

Description

Ovary

Stamens

Description

Raceme :

Simple, elongated, indeterminate cluster with stalked flowers.

Flower consists of 4 oval, non-overlapping yellow petals arranged diagonally to each other, 6 stamens and a central pistil with swollen stigma.

Superior :

Ovary situated above the flower parts (the calyx, corolla, and androecium). In other words, these are attached below the ovary.

6, Tetradynamous :

Ovary situated above the flower parts (the calyx, corolla, and androecium). In other words, these are attached below the ovary.

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)
 

Character

Scent

Average Flower Size

Pollen Colour

Other Notes

Description

YES

Faint sweet smell can sometimes be detected.

12-14mm

Yellow

-


SEEDS:

Character

No. Per Fruit

Shape

Size

Colour

Description

25-35

Globular

Spherical shape, like a small bead.

2-3mm

Dark greyish-brown colour

(Sometimes, seeds have few pale specs).

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

FRUIT AND OTHER BOTANICAL DATA:

Character

Fruit Type

Colour of Fruit

Subterranean Parts

Other Notes

Description

Siliqua :

A dry dehiscent pod-like fruit which is longer, often many times than broad, so having the shape of an elongated pouch.

Green

Turns light brown when fruit is ripe.

Taproot :

A rooting system where there is the main descending root of a plant having a single dominant large structure from which a network of smaller and long roots emerge.

-

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

Plant description and characters

Life Cycle:

Annual.

Growth Form:

THEROPHYTE (Annuals)

Habitat:

Weedy places in fields, wasteland and sometimes in traffic islands and gardens.

Frequency:

Common

Localities in Malta:

Common in uncropped fields such as at Buskett, Mtarfa, Mistra and Ghajn Tuffieha to mention a few examples.

Plant Height:

30-60cm.

Flowering Period:

Nov - Apr

Protection in Malta:

Not Protected by Law (LN200/2011 or LN311/2006)

Red List 1989:

Not listed in the Flora section of the National Red Data Book (Lanfranco, 1989)

Poison:

Adult plants may contain Glucosinolates which are poisonous.

The plant consist of an erect stem up to 60 cm long with many sub-branching stems which continues to a terminal raceme inflorescence. The stem has some white/grey bristly hair along and the base gets tougher and a reddish-brown colour.

The young and adult leaves have different shapes. The basal adult leaves are stalked, ovoid with an irregularly serrated outline, while the young cauline leaves are smaller, sessile with basal auricles embracing the stem, less serrated outline, and are more elongated.

Flowers are made up of 4 diagonally arranged yellow petals, with 6 tetradynamous stamens (which means 4 central stamens with long filaments, plus 2 lateral and shorter) and a central superior green ovary with a single style and swollen stigma. The flower also has 4 green sepals which are spread out horizontally (perpendicular to stem axis)

The fruit are found in stacks below the infloresences. They are stalked elongated pods called siliqua which become the seed pods of the plant. The siliqua can reach up to 50mm in length, has a pointed beak and its body is slightly bulging with the seeds inside. When the seeds are mature, the siliqua splits up open with a sudden twist of the outside walls and so expels the seeds inside at a further distance. A translucent central wall remains after dispersion. The small seeds are quite spherical in shape, and brown in colour.


Information, uses and other details


Personal observations

Dispersion
Dispersion of seeds is by sudden outwards twisting of the 2 outer walls (valves) forming the siliqua [SM]

Confusion in Maltese names
This plant is usually found growing with another white flowered Crucifer - the Diplotaxis erucoides (White wall rocket) Usually the white species grows more abundantly. The flower and plant morphology are quite similar, except the flower colour. The white species is called "gargir abjad" (white 'gargir'). There is another yellow-flowered crucifer species called "gargir isfar" (yellow 'gargir') which its species name is Diplotaxis tenuifolia. One could easy mistake the Maltese names when seeing the two populations of the yellow B. rapa silvestris mixed with the white D. erucoides growing close together and assume that both are gargir, one is white (gargir abjad) and the other is yellow (gargir isfar). B. rapa subsp silvestris is called "liftija" in Maltese and should not be mixed with "gargir isfar". [SM] .



Comparison with Diplotaxis tenuifolia
In Malta there is another Cruciferae plant which is very similar to the Wild Turnip and more abundant. This is called the Perennial Wall Rocket - Diplotaxis tenuifolia). The perennial wall rocket can be easily mistaken for the Wild Turnip at first glance because the yellow flowers and slender fruit pods are very similar. The main differences are the leaves, size of the plant, size of the flower and sepals as indicated in the table below: [SM]
Feature Brassica rapa subsp. silvestris Diplotaxis tenuifolia
Leaves Large, ovoid, serrated and hairy. Furthermore, young leaves have base lobes which embrace the stem Smaller, deeply dented, elongated, glabrous, no embracing lobes
Sepals Few mm below flower, long, perpendicular to stem Small, cup shaped near to flower
Flower Size 13mm average slightly larger, 16mm average
Apical beak of seed pod Long Very short



Not much more information (such as uses) has been found about this plant both on books and on the internet. If you can supply further info please to be included here please do not hesitate to email me. Full reference credits will be given.

Photo Gallery   (24 Images)

IMAGE: BRSRA-01
Photo of the yellow cross-shaped flowers with petals that may (but not always) overlap slightly each other.
IMAGE: BRSRA-02
Photo of 2 flowers, one of which is at a lateral view showing well the arrangement of the 6 stamens; that is 2 very short and lateral and 4 central and long with the green style and stigma at their centre.
IMAGE: BRSRA-03
Close up photo of a flower cluster at the apex of a flowering stem. PLant is of the raceme type of inflorescence.
IMAGE: BRSRA-04
Photo of a flower cluster with about 3-6 flowers in bloom per cluster.
IMAGE: BRSRA-05
Photo of flower in situ, showing its 4 bright yellow petals, 6 stamens and central pistil. Lower flowers were partially eaten by a herbivore, most probably a snail.
IMAGE: BRSRA-06
Photo of flowers and buds. As indicated on the photo, the diameter of the flower is usually about 13mm.
IMAGE: BRSRA-07
Scanned and annotated image of 2 flowers against a dark background.
IMAGE: BRSRA-08
Scanned and annotated image of 2 flowers against a dark background.
IMAGE: BRSRA-09
Scanned image of buds and their fairly long pedicels.
IMAGE: BRSRA-10
Photo of an uncropped field with many Brassica rapa subsp silvestris plants. The habitat of this plant is rich soils such as fields and traffic islands.
IMAGE: BRSRA-11
Photo of a field in Buskett full of this plant. It is frequently found mixed with a species of the same Mustard family - the white-flowered Diplotaxis Erucoides. Taken at Buskett (Mar 2005).
IMAGE: BRSRA-12
Photo of a fallow field taken over by Brassica rapa subsp. silvestris.
IMAGE: BRSRA-13
Scanned image of the upper sessile leaves and a lower stalked leaf.
IMAGE: BRSRA-14
Photo of a seedling.
IMAGE: BRSRA-15
Photo of several caterpillars of the common white cabbage butterfly on the plants' fruit pods. Brassica rapa is one of the larva favourite host plants.
IMAGE: BRSRA-16
Colour illustration of the plant and its parts taken from Bilder ur Nordens Flora (1901 - 1905), Carl Axel Magnus Lindman.
IMAGE: BRSRA-17
Photo of a young plant (right side) and some seedlings (left side).
IMAGE: BRSRA-18
Photo of a many plants along a lane in the countryside (agricultural area).
IMAGE: BRSRA-19
Photo of young plants, with the characteristic cauline leaf embracing stem.
IMAGE: BRSRA-20
Annotated photo of the leaves, showing stalked adult leaves and sessile young leaves with their base clasping the stem.
IMAGE: BRSRA-21
Photo of the unripe fruit (siliqua) in situ.
IMAGE: BRSRA-22
Scanned image of various siliqua at increasing maturity stages (left to right). Mature fruit pods have fairly long apical beaks, about 4-5mm.
IMAGE: BRSRA-23
Magnified scanned image of 2 mature seed-pods (siliqua) and an empty one with some of its globular seeds further to the left. Note the apical beak (which does not bear seeds) and the translucent central partition to which seeds are attached to.
IMAGE: BRSRA-24
Magnified scanned image of some seeds. They are reddish brown or dark brown in colour, have a spherical shape and about 2-3mm in size.

Links & Further info

Google Web

Google Images

Yahoo Web

Yahoo Images

Wikipedia

JSTOR

GBIF

Med Checklist

Cat. of Life

EoL

IPNI

The Plant List

NYBG

Vienna Virt. Hb.

RBGE

KEW

MNHN

Arkive


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