Sudden infestation with this yellow flowered low-leaved tall gangly plant

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On 6/25/2013 9:24 PM, Danny D. wrote:

thank you, but i already have my own set of these, along with brown recluse spiders, so need no more. what i also have a lot of and encourage are funnel spiders and tarantulas, but not indoors.
http://www.desertmuseum.org/books/nhsd_funnelweb_spider.php
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On Sun, 23 Jun 2013 16:01:07 -0700, David E. Ross wrote:

This description seems apropos: http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/03/wild-mustard-foraged-food.html
Clearly there are yellow flowers atop a stem.
I'll look in the morning to see if they're in groups of 4 petals. And, I'll look closer to see if they're not veined.
I didn't see any broccoli-like florets; but the leaves did radiate in a rosette.
Apparently I can cook and eat the leaves, and I can make a mustard spread out of the flower petals.
According to this article, it was brought to the Americas in the 1700s: http://www.eattheweeds.com/cutting-the-wild-mustard-brassica-sinapis-2/
Apparently all parts of the plant are edible.
This article points out that the hairs on the stem make it "wild mustard": http://en.heilkraeuter.net/herbs/wild-mustard.htm
I'll look for 4 long stamens and 2 short stamens and 1 pistil on the flowers: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/03-043.htm
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On Sun, 23 Jun 2013 16:01:07 -0700, David E. Ross wrote:

Hi David, I think you're right (at least I hope you are, as I tasted a few florets today, and they tasted much like broccoli).

I just can't seem to find the mustard seeds though ... :(
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On Mon, 24 Jun 2013 19:25:06 -0700, Oren wrote:

Indeed. Check out the front row of the wife's spice shelf:

She grows the red-hot stuff herself, because she can't get 'em hot enough at the store ...
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"Danny D." wrote:

Wild mustard.
Here are some really spectacular pictures from the SF area back in March:
http://theflirtyguide.blogspot.ca/2013/03/the-mustard-is-blooming-in-bay-area.html
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On Sun, 23 Jun 2013 21:15:27 -0400, Home Guy wrote:

I just got home and saw those pictures of the 4-petaled mustard plants in the San Francisco bay area. Those pictures are much more lush than mine - but I'll try to snap a closeup of the flower in the morning and compare.
I'll report back what I find in comparison to the net on the "wild mustard".
BTW, if it is wild mustard, might I be able to make mustard out of it? (I'll check - but I figured I'd ask also.)
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On 6/23/13 10:17 PM, Danny D. wrote:

The condiment is made from ground or crushed mustard seeds.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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On Mon, 24 Jun 2013 07:56:17 -0700, David E. Ross wrote:

Thanks for the assistance.
I didn't know what the seeds looked like, but I could easily see the green central florets, unveined yellow flower petals and what looks like six stamens (four tall, and two short) surrounding the one pistil as men surround a pretty lady at a bar:

I couldn't locate the mustard seed pods.

Where should I be looking for them?
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On Monday, June 24, 2013 7:01:50 PM UTC-6, Danny D. wrote:

The pods develop from the flowers. The pods contain the seeds and they go from green to black as the ripen.
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On Mon, 24 Jun 2013 19:05:01 -0700, Roy wrote:

Hmmm... I was thinking these things were the actual seed pods:

Can someone confirm whether these are the actual seed pods?

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Danny D. said:

Yes, those are the pods. Right now they are immature. They will grow, ripen, and begin to dry and split open. You want to gather them (for seed) just before the pods open. Young pods can be harvested and eaten.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

"Yes, swooping is bad."
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On Tue, 25 Jun 2013 07:39:09 -0400, Pat Kiewicz wrote:


Thanks. Wow. There are lots and lots of seed pods on just one plant!
No wonder they seem to be taking over my "wasteland".
Note: The descriptions say wild mustard takes over wasteland; I wonder how the mustard 'knows' that it's wasteland?
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Your arrow is pointing towards an immature silique, the fruit of the plant... that is a maturing ovary (aka gynoecium). If you cut one in half crosswise, you'll see two chambers, each with seeds.
I still can't tell which of many possibilities your particular members of the mustard family are (there are a lot of them in California!), but it is indeed a member of the mustard family, now mostly called the Brassicaceae, but Cruciferae is the older classical name for this family. Typically four separate sepals, four separate petals, six stamens (often two short and four long) and a two-chambered ovary.
http://waynesword.palomar.edu/images/silique1.gif
Usually edible, though some are not. Some species pick up lead and other heavy metals from the soil (remember all the years of leaded gasoline), which can render them toxic.
As always, identify a plant properly before feasting on it.
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On Tue, 25 Jun 2013 15:42:03 +0000, Kay Lancaster wrote:

Thanks for the helpful identification.
What I see clearly (and which matches the wild mustard ID) are: - 4 unveined yellow petals (aka sepals) - 6 long things (aka stamens), 2 of which are shorter - One thing in the middle (aka pistil)

And, now I recognize there are: - Lots of seed pods (aka immature siliques)

And: - Lobate leaves which radiate out of the ground:

Plus: - Hairy stems

And, most unusual, that it "takes over (my) wasteland":

One remaining question: Q: How does it know "my" yard is currently a wasteland?
PS: The sprinkler system is partially broken; there's an electrical problem in some of the zones in that they don't work electrically but they work mechanically if I turn them on at the box in the ground.
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["Followup-To:" header set to rec.gardens.]

Turn the flower upside down and you'll find there are 4 green sepals, then the four yellow petals.

Yup. Also called the gynoecium. The end of the pistil is the stigma (where the pollen lands and germinates), then there's a constricted region just below that, the style (pollen tubes germinate on the stigma and grow down through the style, and eventually fertilize the ovules in the thicker, basal part, the ovary or gynoecium.

Nah, not unusual at all. "Natura abhorret a vacuo" -- "Nature abhors a vacuum. You've got a whole lot of open ground there with bare soil. You've got 50 or 100 years worth of seeds sitting dormant in the soil, ready to grow as soon as they get their chance -- you're not supplying enough water for the plants you want to grow to grow well and fill in the soil, so weed seeds that can take the conditions that are on offer grow instead. "Canopy closure" -- growing enough plants to completely shade the soil -- is one of the major ways of controlling weeds (which are generally plants that do well in disturbed soils). In arid lands, there's not enough soil moisture to support a true canopy most of the time, so the spacing of plants is defined by how big an area they need to get enough moisture from the soil. I presume you normally grow a lawn in this area, probably something pretty unsuitable for the amount of natural rain in the area, like Kentucky bluegrass. It dies, and gives the weedy mustard a chance to grow. In other words, your soil is telling you to grow native plants, or at least plants adapted to the area, instead of ones adapted to England.
Oh yes, one other gardening proverb to consider "One season's seeding is 5 season's weeding." Except that it's really more like "One season's seeding is 50+ years weeding.
If you're interested, here's some background reading for you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_seed_bank (Amazon.com product link shortened)72202595&sr=1-70&keywordslifornia+natural+history+guides http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/weeds_intro.html
Kay

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On Wed, 26 Jun 2013 02:01:03 +0000, Kay Lancaster wrote:

Well, there's plenty of sunlight, poor soils, and no water to speak of ... so, you're right - the only thing that grows are the weeds.
In fact, as you surmised, on my unwatered lawn, are basically these two plants (wild mustard and some kind of other nasty looking thing):

Looking closer at the nasty looking thing, it has nasty leaves:

And, a nasty purplish headress:

I think it's some kind of horrid thistle all over my fescue lawn:

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["Followup-To:" header set to rec.gardens.]

Try pulling one up... you may find they're attached to an underground root and stolon system, in which case you may be dealing with Canada thistle, Cirsium arvense, a noxious weed* in California, and you might want to consider some minor chemical warfare, as fragments of the underground portions of the plants about 3/8" long can start new ones, as can all the seeds. http://www.cal-ipc.org/ip/management/ipcw/pages/detailreport.cfm@usernumber )&surveynumber2.php They can basically take over an area in a few years.
Seeds last up to about 20 years in the soil, and can travel miles on the wind because they have a little "parachute" of hairs (pappus), and also many songbirds eat the seeds.
*Noxious weed is a legal definition, meaning the plant is a peril to agriculture. I think C. arvense is a class B, but it's been 30 years since I lived in CA, so you might want to check it. In some counties, everyone may be required to control it, in which case you're legally obligated to deal with it.
I control it here in my Oregon yard with heading the flowers** as soon as I see them, and spot applications of glyphosate on established plants in the fall. Heading has to be done vigilantly-- at least once a week. **Canada thistle is a member of the Asteraceae (also known as the Compositae) the dandelion family -- each of those purple "petals" is an entire flower, and the flowers eventually develop one-seeded fruits that are dispersed by birds and wind.
FWIW, I had a bunch of downed trees a couple of years ago, and burning them was the only practical means I had to get rid of them. So I built the bonfire on top of a big Canada thistle to get an idea of what might happen in a wildfire. The fire burned for about 6 hours, got very hot, and left a lot of very alkaline ash. Next year, guess what I had under the bonfire site? Only the Canada thistle survived, and it was doing well.

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On Wed, 26 Jun 2013 15:42:03 +0000, Kay Lancaster wrote:

Hi Kay,
I started pulling one up, then another, and another, and another, until ... after a long while ... I filled my chest-high green recycling bin with the thistle!

I'm not sure how they process those things at the town recycling center - but those thistle thorns are nasty!

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8-)

Pretty much like anything else... dump it in a hot pile, add water, stir periodically, and turn it into compost. If you can get the whole pile heated to about 140, it's not going to grow.
Kay
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On Wed, 26 Jun 2013 15:42:03 +0000, Kay Lancaster wrote:

Hmmm... I don't know what a "root and stolon" system looks like.
Most looked like taproots - like this:

Or this:

And this:

However, some came out as 'clump' roots - like this:

And this:

PS: It was only half way through the eradication task that I belatedly realized shoving a garden hose nozzle into the center of the plant and blasting the roots loose was the way to go!

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