Wild Mustard, A plant with a checkered past.

Non native Wild Mustard

Non native Wild Mustard

It’s a plant seemingly as ubiquitous as traffic in Los Angeles. Our urban landscape with its intermittent open space and roadside patches, comprised often only of mere handfuls of dirt, conspire to support the tenacious Wild Mustard plant. This plant is not native to California and was actually introduced by Spanish Rancheros to support the growing cattle industry. The wild mustard arrived to compensate for overgrazing of native grasslands fueled by increasing numbers of cows. No longer consumed by cattle, this invasive species has run wild in Los Angeles’ Mediterranean climate, consuming the landscape at any chance it is given.

Wild Mustard

Wild Mustard

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2 Comments

Filed under History

2 responses to “Wild Mustard, A plant with a checkered past.

  1. ericmerrell

    Hi, nice to meet you at the park the other day while I was out painting. A great spot, I’m sure I’ll be back. I wanted to pass on my blog to you that I mentioned: http://www.ericmerrell.wordpress.com

    I’ve heard another story about the mustard, that it was originally sown by the padres as they traveled from one mission to the next, each mission a day’s walk apart. The mustard would mark the trail for those who followed on El Camino Real, the King’s Highway.

    • I also heard the Franciscan padre story and wondered if it was documented by any diaries or journals kept by those early Europeans as they walked from Mexico to Santa Rosa gradually, in waves, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. What a hike that must have been!

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