Date of this Version
NebGuide G1272 (Revised June 2006)
Blue mustard is a troublesome weed in winter wheat and alfalfa in central and western Nebraska. This NebGuide discusses methods of control.
Blue mustard [Chorispora tenella (Pallas) D.C.] was introduced into the United States from Siberia in 1929 and was first reported in Lewiston, Idaho. It was identified in Keith County, Nebraska in 1953. Blue mustard is a winter annual weed, with seed germinating in late summer and fall. The plant overwinters as a rosette. The flower stalk usually elongates, a process known as bolting, in March. With mild February weather, bolting may occur in early March. Cold weather in February results in late March elongation. Typically, other common mustard species such as tansy [Descurainia pinnata (Walt.) Britt] or tumble (Sisymbrium altissimum L.) mustard begin bolting two or three weeks after blue mustard. Blue mustard flowers are bluish-purple to purple and typically appear in early April. Viable seed can be produced approximately 10 days after bloom. Blue mustard is a problem in winter annual crops such as winter wheat, perennial crops like alfalfa, and noncrop areas such as roadsides and railroad right-of-ways.
This revision is based on the original NebGuide by Gail A. Wicks, former Extension Weeds Specialist.