Fact Sheets


Erucastrum gallicum (Willd.) O. E. Schulz

Family :

Famille :


Synonym(s) :

Synonyme(s) :

Sisymbrium gallicum Willd. (USDA-ARS 2021)

Erucastrum pollichii K. F. Schimp. & Spenn.                 (USDA-ARS 2021)

Common Name(s) :

Nom(s) commun(s) :

Dog mustard
(English) (GC 2016)

Moutarde des chiens (French) (GC 2016)

Rocket-weed (English) (FNA.1993+)

  • Dog mustard (Erucastrum gallicum) seeds

  • Dog mustard (Erucastrum gallicum) seeds

  • Dog mustard (Erucastrum gallicum) seed

  • Dog mustard (Erucastrum gallicum) seed, side view

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Regulation :

Remarques Réglementation:

  • CFIA Weed Seeds Order - Class 3: Secondary Noxious Weed Seeds

Regulation Notes:

Distribution :

Répartition :

Native to southern and central Europe (USDA-ARS 2021). Widely introduced and naturalized in other parts of Europe, as well as North America, the Bahamas, and Korea (Warwick and Wall 1998; USDA-ARS 2021). In the United States it is abundant in the Midwest and sporadic but widespread elsewhere (Warwick and Wall 1998). Occurs across Canada except in Nunavut and Yukon Territories (Brouillet et al. 2010+).

Habitat and Crop Association :

Habitat et Cultures Associées :

Cultivated fields, old fields, gardens and lawns, orchards, railway yards, railway lines, ballast, waste ground, roadsides and disturbed areas (FNA 1993+; Warwick and Wall 1998; Darbyshire 2003). Also found in open rangelands, dry grassland areas, shores, beaches, river banks and floodplains (Warwick and Wall 1998). Most often found in sparsely vegetated habitats. A weed of cereal and oilseed crops (Warwick and Wall 1998).

Economic Use, cultivation area, and Weed Association :

Utilisation économique, zone de culture et association de mauvaises herbes :

Duration of Life Cycle :

Durée du cycle vital:


Dispersal Unit Type :

Type d’unité de dispersion :


General Information


Erucastrum gallicum was introduced to North America in the early 1900s and spread across the continent via rail lines and contaminated grain shipments (Warwick and Wall 1998). E. gallicum produces an average of approximately 11,000 seeds per plant (Warwick and Wall 1998).


Erucastrum gallicum plant (Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org)



  • Silique


    • Silique length: 20 – 50 mm (Warwick and Wall 1998)


    • Silique is linear with transverse constrictions at regular intervals, generally cylindrical, but some are angular in 3 dimensions

    Surface Texture

    • Surface is smooth, with one central nerve on each side


    • Silique is dull straw yellow

    Other Features

    • Silique is shiny green when immature
    • The style remains at the end of the silique as a narrow, seedless segment (Warwick and Wall 1998)
    • Seeds arranged in one row, alternating on either side of the inner partition of the silique.
    • Each side of the silique has a single, central nerve (Warwick and Wall 1998)
  • Seed


    • Seed length*: 1.0 – 1.6 mm; width: 0.7 – 0.9 mm
    *Note: minimum and maximum of 10 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


    • Seed oval or oblong with one end rounded and the other truncate

    Surface Texture

    • Seed surface is ridged reticulate, with both stipples and transverse striations in the interspaces between the ridges


    • Seeds are generally shiny reddish brown, some straw yellow coloured

    Other Features

    Hilum & Hilum area

    • Hilum area is dark brown with white tissue

    Other Features

    • Seeds are slightly mucilaginous when wetted
    • Seeds generally are grooved between the cotyledons and the radicle at the hilum end
    • Hilum end appears notched with a pointed radicle end that generally does not protrude past the hilum
  • Embryo


    • Embryo fills the seed


    • Embryo is bent


    • Endosperm is scant or lacking

    Other Features

    • Nutritive tissue contained within cotyledons is yellow coloured, soft and oily

Identification Tips


Relatively small, reddish-brown seeds with ridged reticulation the same colour as the surface with transverse striations in the interspaces are distinguishing features of E. gallicum seeds.

Additional Botany Information



  • Flowers pale yellow with 4 petals, 5.0 – 7.0 mm long (Warwick and Wall 1998)

Similar Species


Similar species are based on a study of seed morphology of various species, and those with similar dispersal units are identified. The study is limited by physical specimen and literature availability at the time of examination, and possibly impacted by the subjectivity of the authors based on their knowledge and experience. Providing similar species information for seed identification is to make users aware of similarities that could possibly result in misidentification.

Diplotaxis tenuifolia (L.) DC.

D. tenuifolia seeds are a similar size (length*: 0.9 – 1.4 mm; width: 0.7 – 0.9 mm), are generally green coloured with darker cotyledons and silvery surface reticulations. The radicle protrudes past the hilum in most seeds. E. gallicum seeds are reddish brown with the same colour reticulation and a shorter radicle in comparison.

Hirschfeldia incana (L.) Lagr.-Foss.

H. incana seeds are generally shorter than E. gallicum, and can be lighter or darker reddish-brown. H. incana seed generally lacks a groove between the radicle and cotyledons. The interspaces of the reticulation are generally smaller and pitted rather than the larger interspaces with transverse striations of E. gallicum.

*Note: minimum and maximum of 10 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)

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Brouillet, L., Coursol, F., Meades, S. J., Favreau, M., Anions, M., Bélisle, P. and Desmet, P. 2010+. VASCAN, the database of vascular plants of Canada. http://data.canadensys.net/vascan/ Accessed April 26, 2021.

Darbyshire, S. J. 2003. Inventory of Canadian Agricultural Weeds. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch. Ottawa, ON.

Flora of North America (FNA) Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico [Online]. 22+ vols. New York and Oxford. http://beta.floranorthamerica.org. Accessed December 29, 2022.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Secretariat. 2022. https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei Accessed via https://www.gbif.org/species/5375547 Accessed December 29, 2022.

Government of Canada (GC). 2016. Canadian Weed Seeds Order. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2016-93/page-2.html (English) https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/fra/reglements/DORS-2016-93/page-2.html (French)

International Seed Morphology Association (ISMA). 2020. Method for Seed Size Measurement. Version 1.0. ISMA Publication Guide.  https://www.idseed.org/authors/details/method_for_seed_size_measurement.html

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS). 2021. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx Accessed April 26, 2021.

Warwick, S. I. and Wall, D. A. 1998. The biology of Canadian Weeds. 108. Erucastrum gallicum (Willd.) O.E. Schulz. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 78: 155–165.



Jennifer Neudorf, Angela Salzl, Ruojing Wang, Karen Castro, Katrina Entwistle

Canadian Food Inspection Agency