Family Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae), composed of 350 genera of mostly herbaceous plants with peppery-flavored leaves. The pungent seeds of some species lead the spice trade in volume traded. Mustard flowers take the form of a Greek cross, with four petals, usually white, yellow, or lavender, and an equal number of sepals. The seeds are produced in podlike fruits. Members of the mustard family include many plants of economic importance that have been extensively altered and domesticated by humans. The most important genus is Brassica (see brassica); turnips, radishes, rutabagas, and many ornamental plants are also members of the family. As a spice, mustard is sold in seed, powder, or paste form.
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Brassicaceae or Cruciferae, also known as the crucifers, the mustard family or cabbage family is a family (the third lowest primary taxonomic rank) of flowering plants (Angiospermae). The name Brassicaceae is derived from the included genus Brassica. Cruciferae is an older name, it means "cross-bearing", because the four petals of their flowers are reminiscent of a cross. According to ICBN Art. 18.5 (Vienna Code) both Cruciferae and Brassicaceae are regarded as validly published, and are thus accepted as names for the family.
It contains over 330 genera and about 3,700 species, according to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The largest genera are Draba (365 species), Cardamine (200 species, but its definition is controversial), Erysimum (225 species), Lepidium (230 species) and Alyssum (195 species.)
The family contains well-known species such as Brassica oleracea (cabbage, cauliflower...), Brassica rapa (turnip, Chinese cabbage...), Brassica napus (rapeseed...), Raphanus sativus (common radish), Armoracia rusticana (horseradish), Matthiola(stock), Arabidopsis thaliana (model genetic organism) and many others.
A close relationship has long been acknowledged between Brassicaceae and the caper family, Capparaceae, in part because members of both groups produce glucosinolate (mustard oil) compounds. Recent research (Hall et al. 2002) suggests that Capparaceae as traditionally circumscribed are paraphyletic with respect to Brassicaceae, with Cleome and several related genera being more closely related to Brassicaceae than to other Capparaceae. The APG II system therefore has merged the two families under the name 'Brassicaceae'. Other classifications have continued to recognize Capparaceae but with a more restricted circumscription, either including Cleome and its relatives in Brassicaceae or recognizing them in the segregate family Cleomaceae. The angiosperm phylogeny website, has recently adopted this last solution, but this may change as a consensus arises on this point. This article deals with Brassicaceae sensu stricto, i.e. treating Cleomaceae and Capparaceae as segregate families.
The structure of the flowers is extremely uniform throughout the family. They have four free saccate sepals and four clawed free petals, staggered. They can be disymmetric or slightly zygomorphic, with a typical cross-like arrangement (hence the name 'Cruciferae'). They have six stamens, four of which are longer (as long as the petals, so relatively short in fact) and are arranged in a cross like the petals and the other two are shorter (tetradynamous flower). The pistil is made up of two fused carpels and the style is very short, with two lobes. Superior ovary. The flowers form ebracteate racemose inflorescences, often apically corymb-like.
The fruit is a peculiar kind of capsule named siliqua (plural siliquae, American English silique/siliques). It opens by two valves, which are the modified carpels, leaving the seeds attached to a framework made up of the placenta and tissue from the junction between the valves (replum). There is often an indehiscent beak at the top of the style and one or more seeds may be borne there. Where a siliqua is less than three times as long as it is broad , it is usually termed a silicula. The siliqua may break apart at constrictions occurring between the segments of the seeds, thus forming a sort of loment (e.g. Raphanus), it may eject the seeds explosively (e.g. Cardamine) or may be evolved in a sort of samara (e.g. Isatis). Unsurprisingly the fruit is often the most important diagnostic character for plants in this family.
The Brassicaceae do not form mycorrhizae, although rare exceptions do exist.
Most members share a suite of glucosinolate compounds that has a typical pungent odour usually associated with cole crops.
The importance of this family for food crops has led to its selective breeding throughout history. Some examples of cruciferous food plants are the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, rapeseed, mustard, radish, horseradish, cress and watercress.
Matthiola (stock), Cheiranthus, Alyssum and Iberis (candytufts) are appreciated for their flowers. Lunaria (honesty) is cultivated for the decorative value of the tranlucent repulum of the round silicula that remains on the dried stems after dehiscence.
US Patent Issued to the United States of America as Represented by the Secretary of Agriculture on Nov. 27 for "Production of Stable Pyrolysis Bio-Oil from Mustard Family Seeds, Mustard Family Seed Presscake, and Defatted Mustard Family Seed Presscake" (Illinois, Pennsylvania Inventors)
Nov 27, 2012; ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 27 -- United States Patent no. 8,317,883, issued on Nov. 27, was assigned to The United States of America...
Body Talk: If We Can Lose Weight. You Can; THE MUSTARD FAMILY HAD BEEN GOING TO SEED BUT, HELPED BY OUR EXPERTS, ARE NOW GETTING BACK INTO SHAPE
Nov 18, 2004; Byline: CHRISTINE MORGAN MEET the Mustard family. A typical bunch who loved telly and junk food, and who didn't quite get round...
Devote part of garden to a single family of plants; Carl von Linnaeus is responsible for our classification system today
Mar 20, 2005; You often hear talk about various plants being related to each other. There are the sunny-faced members of the daisy family, for...