Chorispora tenella – Crossflower
Scientific Name: Chorispora tenella
Common Name: Crossflower, Purple Mustard, Blue Mustard, Common Bluemustard, Musk Mustard, Beanpodded Mustard, Tenella Mustard
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized weed is native to eastern Europe and Asia.
Habitat: Desert, Upland, Riparian. This plant is still relatively uncommon in southeastern Arizona and is usually found in disturbed drainage areas and along roadways and railroads.
Flower Color: Light magenta purple
Flowering Season: Spring
Height: Up to 20 inches (50 cm) tall, but usually less
Description: The flowers are small and have 4 narrowly spoon-shaped petals that are crimped and darker at the base. The flowers are followed by slender, linear-cylindrical, upcurved, point-tipped seed capsules. The leaves are green, alternate, and lanceolate, oblanceolate, or elliptic-oblong in shape. The larger, petiolate basal leaves may not be present at flowering and have pinnate lobes or large teeth, while the smaller, sessile stem leaves are toothed or smooth-edged. The stems are branched near the base. The green parts of the plant are covered in glandular trichomes (glandular hairs) and are odorous.
Other, similar plants found here with 4-petaled, purple flowers can be distinguished because they are not glandular hairy and don't have an unpleasant smell. Additionally, the similar Matthiola parviflora has horned seed capsules, while the somewhat similar Night Scented Stock (Matthiola longipetala) has much larger, fragrant flowers and horned seed capsules, and Slimleaf Plainsmustard (Schoenocrambe linearifolia) has larger flowers and much narrower leaves.
Edible – The leaves are edible.
Foul-smelling – The foliage has a strange, unpleasant smell.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Brassicaceae – Mustard family
Genus: Chorispora R. Br. ex DC. – chorispora
Species: Chorispora tenella (Pall.) DC. – crossflower
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