Sinapis arvensis   Charlock I

Sinapis arvensis

Sinapis arvensis is now thought to be an Archeophyte (introduced before 1500AD) and is a spring flowering plant. On this WFS trip we found an excellent example on some waste ground which is typically where you might find it growing. Charlock has been in the news because of the hybrid which has been discovered by the natural crossing of genetically modified Oil-seed rape (Brassica napus) and this plant Sinapis arvensis. Foolishly the spokesperson advocating genetically modified plants had claimed that such hybrids wouldn't occur but they have. As often happens with plant hybrids though, the seed has not been proved viable so far so the much feared ecological advantage of a herbicide resistant native weed hasn't materialised.


Sinapis arvensis is found throughout most of England, Wales and Ireland and much of Scotland except for the highest mountains. It is also common on the outer Hebrides and Shetland.

Waste ground near Redbrook, Gloucestershire 6th September 2005

Added on September 15th 2005, updated 8th February 2012

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