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Wild Radish

Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. raphanistrum  L.  (Fam: BRASSICACEAE.)

Published date of profile: Mar-2003.
Citation: Mifsud S., (Mar-2003) Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. raphanistrum on MaltaWildPlants.com

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Plant Description and Characters Plant Information and Uses
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Nomenclature

Species name :

Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. raphanistrum  L.

Name Derivation :

Carl von Linné, Sweden, 1707-1778

Synonyms :

Basionym or principal synonyms: No Main Synonyms
Full list of synonyms: [ PlantList ]   [ IPNI ]   [ Catalogue of Life ]

Plant Family :

Brassicaceae  Juss.
(Mustard (Cress) Family)

Common name(s) :

Wild Radish, Jointed-podded Charlock, White Charlock

Maltese name(s) :

Ravanell salvaġġ

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Originating from the Maltese islands

Name Derivation:

Raphanus = from "Raphanos" which means quick-appearing, because of the rapid germination of the seeds (Greek);
raphanistrum subsp. raphanistrum = from the same Greek rootword "Raphanos" used in the genus. (Greek).

Remarks :

-


Morphology and structure

PLANT STRUCTURE:

Character

Growth Form

Branching

Surface

Description

Erect :

Upright, vertically straight up well clear off the ground.

Moderately Branched :

Considerable number of secondary branches along the main stem.

Hispid :

Having stiff, bristly hairs but not spiny.

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

LEAVES:

Character

Arrangement

Attachment

Venation

Description

Alternate :

Growing at different positions along the stem axis.

Stalked / Petiolate :

Hanging out by a slender leaf-stalk.

Pinnate venation :

Lateral veins which diverge from the midrib towards the leaf marhins.

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)
 

Character

Leaf Shape

Leaf Margin

Remarks

Description

Irregular Pinnate Lobes (Terminal lobe being largest) :

Compound arrangement of several lobes of various sizes and depths with the lowest being the smallest and most independent (deeply lobed), and the upper terminal lobe being the largest.

Crenate :

Shallow, smooth and rounded teeth.

Leaf Texture

Leaf texture is rough due to very tiny stiff hair.

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

FLOWERS:

Character

Colour

Basic Flower Type

No. of Petals

No. of Sepals

Description

WHITE

Possess indigo or bluish veins, more prominent when seen from the underside of the flower.

Cruciform :

A flower with four petals at right angles to each other forming a shape of a cross.

4

4

(Erect, and purple in colour).

General
Picture

  Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)
 

Character

Inflorescence

Description

Ovary

Stamens

Description

Raceme :

Simple, elongated, indeterminate cluster with stalked flowers.

Cluster of white flowers at the apex of the branching stems. Each single flower consists of 4 spoon-shaped, non-overlapping white petals diagonally arranged to form the shape of a cross. The petals have a characteristic blue or violet network of veins. The flower has 6 rather small stamens and a pistil.

Superior :

Ovary situated above the flower parts (the calyx, corolla, and androecium). In other words, these are attached below the ovary.

6, Tetradynamous :

Ovary situated above the flower parts (the calyx, corolla, and androecium). In other words, these are attached below the ovary.

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)
 

Character

Scent

Average Flower Size

Pollen Colour

Other Notes

Description

None

20-25mm

Lemon Yellow

-


SEEDS:

Character

No. Per Fruit

Shape

Size

Colour

Description

4-12

Globular

Spherical or slightly ovoid.

4mm

Brown

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

FRUIT AND OTHER BOTANICAL DATA:

Character

Fruit Type

Colour of Fruit

Subterranean Parts

Other Notes

Description

Siliqua :

A dry dehiscent pod-like fruit which is longer, often many times than broad, so having the shape of an elongated pouch.

Green

Turns straw-colour or brown when seed pod is ripe.

Taproot :

A rooting system where there is the main descending root of a plant having a single dominant large structure from which a network of smaller and long roots emerge.

-

General
Picture

Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010) Wild Plants of the Mediterranean Islands of Malta  - Copyright Stephen Mifsud / Maltawildplants.com / Malta (2002-2010)

Plant description and characters

Life Cycle:

Annual or Biennial.

Growth Form:

THEROPHYTE (Annuals)

Habitat:

Weedy places in fields and countrylanes. Also frequent in waste sides and coastal areas.

Frequency:

Common

Localities in Malta:

Very Common near fields and countrylanes. Few examples include Qormi (Wied il-Kbir), Rabat, Mtarfa, Chadwick Lakes, Buskett and Bahrija.

Plant Height:

20-100cm.

Flowering Period:

Dec-May

Protection in Malta:

Not Protected by Law (LN200/2011 or LN311/2006)

Red List 1989:

Not listed in the Flora section of the National Red Data Book (Lanfranco, 1989)

Poison:

Not Poisonous.

This plant is usually stated to be either annual or perennial, but in Malta it is definitely annual since it does not survive the hot dry Summer. It is seen during the months of Winter and Spring. The stem possesses tiny, stiff but non-spiny bristles. . The stem usually attains a red purple colour, especially the parts exposed to direct sunlight. This colour may be seen also in other plant parts such as in leaf stalks, sepals, and fruit pods.

The Leaves are all stalked and have a compound shape. They consist of smaller, lateral, nearly opposite leaf lobes located at the lower and central part followed up by a large roundish terminal leaf lobe. The leaf lobes near the stem are very small, while those further out get progressively larger, with the terminal one being the largest of them all. With growth, the terminal lobe forms lateral indentations which give rise to new leaf lobes. These then separate from the parent and give rise to independent leaflets (leaf lobes). The younger cauline leaves are lanceolate and unlobed. Most leaves have a crenated outline, and have numerous tiny stiff hairs.

Like most other species of the Cruciferae family, the plant's inflorescence consists of racemes. The flowers are generally white, but there are also pale yellow and lilac forms which are seldom or not found in Malta. The 4 petals are spread out diagonally forming a cross shaped corolla. They have prominent purple/blue veins, especially when seen from the under side (back) face. The flowers possess 6 tetradynamous stamens (4 large central and 2 small lateral) around a central and longer style tipped with a swollen stigma. Sepals are narrow, elongated, reddish/wine coloured or sometimes green and erect.

The seeds are developed in a silique; an elongated pod-like structured fruit. The young pods are green and may have a wine/purple stripe. They have a pointed beak and are about 8mm thick. When getting ripe, the fruit forms prominent constrictions between the seeds or in other words its body becomes bulging with seeds inside. It also gets brown in colour. No bristles are found on the siliqua, but their stalklets have plenty. Seeds have a rough spherical shape and are brown in colour.


Information, uses and other details


Nativity and distribution

Origin

The origin of this plant is Eurasia (Europe & Asia) [WWW-13]. It is believed that it is the ancestor of cultivated radish (Raphanus sativa) [272]. The cultivated radish is unknown in a wild state, but is supposed to have come from Southern Asia, and may be descended from the wild Raphanus Raphanistrum of the Mediterranean shores. [WWW-03]

Edible Uses

Young leaves - raw or cooked [2, 105]. A somewhat hot taste, they are finely cut and added to salads or used as a potherb [183]. It is best to use just the young leaves in spring, older leaves soon become bitter [9].
Seed - raw or cooked. A very pungent flavour, the seed can be ground into a powder and made into a paste when it is an excellent substitute for mustard [2, 9, 115, 183]. The sprouted seeds have a somewhat hot spicy flavour and are a tasty addition to salads [183].
Flowers - raw. A nice addition to salads. The flower buds are used as a broccoli substitute, they should be lightly steamed for no more than 5 minutes [9].
Young seed-pods - raw. Crisp and juicy, they must be eaten when young because they quickly become tough and fibrous [KF].An edible oil is obtained from the seed [115].

Medicinal Uses

Antirheumatic [13] (acts against rheumatism - a painful disorder of joints or muscles [271]).

Possible poisonous effects

It was stated by Linnaeus that in wet seasons this abounds as a weed among barley, in Sweden, and being ground with the corn, it is eaten in barley bread, causing violent convulsive complaints, or an epidemic, spasmodic disease. Other authorities say that it is harmless, liked by domestic animals and bees. [WWW-03]

Cultivation details

Prefers a rich soil with ample moisture [16, 52]. Dislikes very heavy soils [37]. This plant is a host of an eelworm that attacks cultivated crops [13]. This species is possibly the original source of the cultivated radish, R. sativus [46].
The flowers are very attractive to bees [108].

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. [KF]

Personal Observations

Diseased plants
While searching the plants for photography some plants that had strange morphological features were encountered. It is believed that these plants were diseased. Photos of such plants are found in the photo gallery below. (click here to see one now). The morphological and physiological symptoms observed were:

  • The effected parts have a white, pale green or pale yellow layer which releases lots of fine, powder-like material.
  • Loss of functionality
  • Loss of diversity (Eg: petals, sepals and reproductive organs look the same)
  • Malformation and gigantism (effected parts are large and more fleshy esp. the style, anthers and sepals.

The leaves are rarely effected, and it seems that the disease effects only the upper flowering stems, hence buds, flowers and fruit. On shaking the diseased part a fine white powder is released. (Spores ??) [SM]

These symptoms are caused by a fungal disease called White Rust (Albugo candida). It is a common disease of Brassica Rapa , Brassica Juncea and other cruciferous weeds. Thanks to Trenton Nowosad (P.Agr.) for this information supplied by email.


Other flower forms
The other colour forms of the flower (pale yellow or lilac) are very rare or more probably not found in the Maltese islands.H [SM] However there are 2 other subspecies reported in Malta and these are:
  1. Raphanus raphanistrum subspecies maritimus (probably extinct, recorded in 1920s )
  2. Raphanus raphanistrum subspecies landra (ocassionally found at coastal areas)
  3. Raphanus raphanistrum subspecies raphanistrum (= the common Raphanus raphanistrum)

Photo Gallery   (54 Images)

IMAGE: RPHRA-01
Photo of the plant with its white flowers.
IMAGE: RPHRA-02
Photo inflorescence which consists of a lax raceme of white flowers.
IMAGE: RPHRA-03
Photo of the 4-petalled flower, each petal being at right angles (perpendicular) to each other hence forming a shape of a cross.
IMAGE: RPHRA-04
Photo of white flower characterised by a long and narrow limb (basal part) and a wide claw (upper part).
IMAGE: RPHRA-05
Photo of a few flowers in blossom. Flowering period March-April, sometimes even earlier in February and end of January.
IMAGE: RPHRA-06
Photo of 2 cross shaped flowers and some buds. Note the deep violet veins in the petals of the blossoming bud.
IMAGE: RPHRA-07
Photo of a flower (lateral view), showing that the central style (having a pale green stigma) is longer than the six, yellow stamens found around it.
IMAGE: RPHRA-08
Close up photo of a flower showing the 6 stamens with yellow anthers and a central style with swollen stigma. The flower have 4 central stamens that are longer from the 2 lateral ones.
IMAGE: RPHRA-09
Photo of a flower with its spathulate (spoon shaped) petals.
IMAGE: RPHRA-10
Photo of a flower. They measure about 20-25mm across.
IMAGE: RPHRA-11
Close up photo of a young flower showing its reproductive organs at the centre. In this specimen, the central style and stigma are hidden at the centre between the anthers. With time the ovary and style elongate and adult flowers will have a longer style than the stamens.
IMAGE: RPHRA-12
Photo of a flower (lateral view) showing the 4 sepals making the calyx. They are often reddish-purple (sometimes green), narrow oblong (almost linear), non-overlapping and erect, sometimes with few bristles.
IMAGE: RPHRA-13
Close up photo of a flower sometimes referred as having the shape of a Greek cross.
IMAGE: RPHRA-14
Dissected parts of a flower which consists of 4 free sepals, 4 free petals, 6 stamens and a single pistil.
IMAGE: RPHRA-15
Close up photo of a young fruit. The apex is the swollen stigma, followed by the green style and finally the reddish ovary which contains rows of developing seeds. Flower parts (sepals, petals, stamens) fall off during the maturation of the fruit.
IMAGE: RPHRA-16
Scanned image of a flower (dark background). The arrangement of the 6 stamens can be easily seen, that is 4 central and 2 shorter and lateral stamens.
IMAGE: RPHRA-17
Scanned image of another flower (dark background).
IMAGE: RPHRA-18
Scanned image of inflorescence known as a racemes.
IMAGE: RPHRA-19
Photo of the abaxial (underside) surface of flower showing the contrasting dark-purplish veins.
IMAGE: RPHRA-20
Photo of the abaxial (underside) surface of petals showing the veins which are much more prominent on this side rather than that on the other (adaxial) surface.
IMAGE: RPHRA-21
Annotated scanned image of a longitudinal section of flower showing its flowering parts, namely the sepals, petals, stamens and pistil.
IMAGE: RPHRA-22
Close up photo of a mature bud.
IMAGE: RPHRA-23
Scanned image of a cylindrical, purple red buds. These can be also found green.
IMAGE: RPHRA-24
Scanned image of various petals scanned from the underside (back) and upper side. As it can be seen, the deep purple-blue veins are more prominent on the underside part.
IMAGE: RPHRA-25
Magnified scanned image of a petal against a dark background.
IMAGE: RPHRA-26
Magnified scanned image of a petal and its pattern of deep purple-blue veins.
IMAGE: RPHRA-27
Photo of plant in a fallow field, the common habitat of this species in Malta.
IMAGE: RPHRA-28
Photo of a young plant in an fallow field. Leaves are initially arranged as a basal rosette.
IMAGE: RPHRA-29
Photo of a plant in situ. Height varies between 30 to 100cm.
IMAGE: RPHRA-30
Close up photo of the stem, showing the tiny, white, bristles. In many plants, the stem has a reddish-brown colour.
IMAGE: RPHRA-31
Scanned image of 3 leaves taken from different plants. Generally, adult leaves have opposite pairs of basal lobes and a single and larger apical leaf lobe.
IMAGE: RPHRA-32
Scanned image of a young leaf (right) and the morphological changes that take place with maturation of leaves.
IMAGE: RPHRA-33
Enlarged annotated scanned image of a typical adult leaf.
IMAGE: RPHRA-34
Photo of an adult leaf consisting of small basal leaf lobes and a terminal, large leaf lobe.
IMAGE: RPHRA-35
Another photo of leaves of this species.
IMAGE: RPHRA-36
Photo of basal leaves in situ.
IMAGE: RPHRA-37
Photo of several erect fruit pods called siliqua.
IMAGE: RPHRA-38
Close up photo of a single siliqua . The fruit pedicel is perpendicular to the stalk (spreading out).
IMAGE: RPHRA-39
Close up photo of 2 fruit pods. They are have constrictions between the seeds and a sabre-like seedless head.
IMAGE: RPHRA-40
Photo of fruit pods in situ; glabrous, stalked and having a tapering tip.
IMAGE: RPHRA-41
Photo of siliqua showing its characteristic constrictions located between the seeds inside.
IMAGE: RPHRA-42
Scanned image of several fruit pods (siliqua) at increasing maturity level (left to right). The internal, well-spaced, dark seeds can be noted against the bright background.
IMAGE: RPHRA-43
Magnified scanned image of one siliqua. It has a long, pointed, red-tipped beak and few constrictions around the gaps between the seeds inside.
IMAGE: RPHRA-44
Some plants had these curious outgrowths most probably caused by Albugo candida (White rust). Note how the flower changes and suffers from lack of diversity, and gigantism.
IMAGE: RPHRA-45
Photo of plant with White Rust disease. Note the white powder released from the effected part.
IMAGE: RPHRA-46
Photo of plant with White Rust disease. Note that the diseased part has an abnormal white or pale green layer.
IMAGE: RPHRA-47
Photo of plant with White Rust disease. Note the difference in flower structure - enlarged, lacking in diversity and function.
IMAGE: RPHRA-48
Photo of plant with part of the flowering stem being diseased with White Rust and covered in a whitish pale green layer.
IMAGE: RPHRA-49
Photo of plant with White Rust disease. Most of the apical structures are diseased flowers which have loss of diversity, function and are swollen.
IMAGE: RPHRA-50
Image of the reddish brown seeds.
IMAGE: RPHRA-51
Photo of seedling in situ.
IMAGE: RPHRA-52
Colour illustration of the plant and some of its parts taken from Flora Danica Online.
   
IMAGE: RPHRA-53
Colour illustration of the plant taken from Bilder ur Nordens Flora (1901 - 1905), Carl Axel Magnus Lindman.
IMAGE: RPHRA-54
Magnified image under light microscope of pollen. They have a rugby-ball shape, pitted and possess 3 grooves.
IMAGE: RPHRA-55
IMAGE: RPHRA-56

Links & Further info

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Med Checklist

Cat. of Life

EoL

IPNI

The Plant List

NYBG

Vienna Virt. Hb.

RBGE

KEW

MNHN

Arkive


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