Monday, April 19, 2010

Bastard Cabbage

That's what it's called, honest.  Or Rapistrum rugosum to the scientific community.
This mustard-family annual is listed on the Texas Invasives list because it swallows whole fields, shading out spring native flowers and spreading like bad gossip.  

If you find it in your yard, pull it up by the roots and throw it away, don't even compost it unless you're sure there are no seeds lurking.  Truly.  It's the plant equivalent of roaches.

Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott ,for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

23 comments:

  1. What an awful name and it is so pretty...it's a shame that it is so invasive. xoxo ♥

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  2. I've probably seen this, but didn't know what it was. I'll look..if there is any, I'll rip it out and throw it away.

    It's kinda pretty, though.

    ~~Linda...

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  3. It really is pretty but quite a pest. I LOL about the comparison to roaches! Loved all your pretty Bloom Day blooms as well.

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  4. Super for passing along this valuable info. A lot of people plant it because it is pretty but it's taking over native populations.

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  5. I didn't know that was what it was called. I am afraid that we may also have some as well. A fit name I think.

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  6. It's much prettier than roaches.

    Pat Harry for me.

    Love you much,

    SB

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  7. Good information! I'll keep my eyes peeled for it!

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  8. This looks very much like the rape seed plant, which is grown all over Europe and used to make rape seed or canola oil, for animal feed and, more recently, for biodiesel. Here's a link to the wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapeseed

    I am wondering if it just escaped into surrounding fields and away over the countryside. Too bad it is crowding out the natives.

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  9. That's interesting. I suspect I've seen it around but didn't realize it was an invasive. I'll be more alert to it in the future.

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  10. Love the name! I'm not familiar with it, but I'll be on the lookout now.

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  11. Sure enough--spotted it on Hoffman Lane this evening, just west of Highway 1102.

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  12. Is it native to your area ?
    This invasive plant thing is so interesting. Last year garlic weed made it's presence known in a very big way here.

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  13. Hi Kathleen, i am back to blogging. I browsed in your older posts and i love those blues in the prairie. But these yellows are beautiful too. Are they not the rape seed made into canola oil? They look so wonderful in the highways when different patches are of different maturities, i did not know they are invasive. Maybe these are the wild types. I think most for commercial production are already GMO.

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  14. Been seeing a lot of this along roads locally - and it does seem to have crowded out other flowers. Also read contaminated grass seed mixes might be partly to blame. Hope there is some answer to prevent it eliminating native flowers - it spreads soooo quickly!

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  15. This comment strays from your horticultural theme, but something in the photograph triggered in me a few Texas-related thoughts, unrelated to the roadside Bastard Cabbage.

    I think the "BEXAR County Line" sign you framed in the upper left-hand corner of the picture provides a nice aesthetic balance to the photograph and adds perspective regarding the size of the invasive plants. It also reminds me of one of my favorite "true Texan" tests I became aware of during my 20+ years living in Houston.

    If you spotted someone wearing unfaded Wrangler jeans or unscuffed Justin boots, but there was something about the person's posture or attitude that didn't quite ring "Texan-true," it was always fun to apply the following test:

    Write down the word "Bexar" on a slip of paper (a cocktail napkin would do) and ask the person to read the name of this famous Texas county for which San Antonio is the county seat. The response of course had to sound like the name of a large, ferocious fur-covered animal with powerful claws, which lives wild in many wilderness areas and large national parks. Or the name of a popular brand of aspirin would also be acceptable. Any other pronunciation, however, and you knew you were dealing with a Texas transplant rookie, notwithstanding the jeans and boots.

    This test likely would not have worked in San Antonio or in most of the Hill Country; and it probably would not have worked for newly arrived Spanish-speaking transplants. But in Houston, with its large influx during the 1970s and 80s of non-Spanish speaking transplants from all over the country, it was a lot of fun. And not only fun, it also gently taught these rookies a tiny sliver of Texas heritage they probably should know about their newly adopted home state.

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  16. Another mustard relative, garlic mustard (stinky!) is crowding out native plants in our area. Now if only "faith like a mustard seed" would grow with such gusto!

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  17. Rapeseed is also in the mustard family, Brassica napus Linnaeus, which explains the similarity in appearance. I'll admit that Bastard Cabbage is pretty and the bees like it but anything that overpowers the native landscape and takes us toward single-plant springs is scary.

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  18. YOU BASTARD! *shakes fist*
    . . . but what does it have to do with cabbage?! Everyone else said it - it IS pretty. Too bad its so invasive.

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  19. That bastard cabbage is spreading quickly. I never saw it before a couple of years ago and now it is everywhere here in North Texas. Another bad one is Scabiosa atropurpurea. It has covered a lot of territory in a short time. I wonder what native they will eventually displace?
    http://www.texasinvasives.org/invasives_database/detail.php?symbol=SCAT

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  20. We wage war every spring against garlic mustard which is crowding out the woodland wildflowers in IL. Yours is a much prettier version, at least, as ours has tiny white flowers and lush vegetation. I love the cockroach description!
    Your pictures from last week are so lovely, thanks for taking us along with you to see the scenery. Your Hill Country Spring is amazing.

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  21. See? Every time I come here I drool (the guacamole tonight) AND I learn something. Where else can you do that, especially via computer? I knew that stuff (which grows over our septic tank, mostly) was in the mustard family. Now, since you say so, I'll pull it up rather than mow and spread it! Honestly, I thought it was a native.

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  22. The perfect way to get rid of it is to eat it. That's right--it's delicious cooked any way Mustard greens or turnip greens are cooked. Additionally, the boys and I enjoy the young unopened leafy flowerstalks, prepared like rapini (broccoli raab), sauteed in olive oil with lots of garlic and shallots. Just be sure to collect plants you intend to eat from clean soil, that means not next to a road or a farmer's field where herbicides and pesticides are in use.
    EAT THE WEEDS AS REVENGE.
    I propose the most environmentally active meal would be roasted feral hog with a mess of bastard-cabbage greens. and dandelion?

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  23. Adraine, that's genius! Thank you!

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My readers are all geniuses. Can't wait to see what you have to say.