by Stephen Mifsud
   29 Jan 2023      ()
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Sinapis arvensis   (Charlock)

Sinapis arvensis  (BRASSICACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Nov-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Sinapis arvensis - datasheet created on Nov-2007. Retrieved from on 29-Jan-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Sinapis arvensisL.
Published in Sp. Pl. : 668 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Brassica arvensis (L.) Rabenh.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Brassicaceae Juss. (=Cruciferae) (The Mustard or Cress Family)
47 species from the Brassicaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Charlock, Charlock Mustard

Maltese name(s) :

Mustarda selvaġġa

Status for Malta :

Doubtful origin. It is not yet established if this species is native or not.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent    Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

January – May

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

Sinapis: Latin name for mustard, as where the first plants of this genus. (Latin origin )
arvensis: meaning fields or cultivated land, with reference to the preferred habitat of this plant. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Usually a weed of arable land
Preferred habitat in Malta: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Botanical Description: Annual; stems up to 80 cm, usually hispid at least below, sometimes glabrous. Leaves up to 20 cm, usually hispid; lower leaves stalked, lyrate, with large, coarsely toothed terminal lobe, usually with several smaller lateral lobes; upper leaves more or less sessile, usually simple, ovate to lanceolate. Petals 10-16 x 5-8 mm. Siliqua 25-45(-55) x (1.5-)2.5-4 mm, patent to erect; valves glabrous or with short, stiff, deflexed hairs; beak 7-16 mm, straight. Seeds (7)8-13, reddish-brown or blackish.
Chromosome number: 2n=18
Distributional range: Probably native in the Mediterranean region, but introduced throughout Europe, rarer in the north

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
All Europe except the Azores, Svalbard archipelago, but only casual in Faroe Islands, Iceland
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE Ag Al Ar dAu Au(A) dBe Be(B L) BH Bl(I M N) dBr Bu By dCa(C F G H L P T) Cg Co Cr Cs Ct Cy dDa Eg Es Ga(F) dGe Gr dHb dHe dHo Hs(S) Hu IJ It La Li Lt Lu Ma Md(D M P) Mo dNo dPo Rf dRm Sa Si(M S) Sl Sn Sr dSu Tn Tu(E) Uk(K U) [Az(F S) Fe Ge dHb(E) No Po cSk]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (7 images)
   Sinapis arvensis   -   Image Code: SNPAV-0.
   Sinapis arvensis   -   Image Code: SNPAV-1.
   Sinapis arvensis   -   Image Code: SNPAV-2.
   Sinapis arvensis   -   Image Code: SNPAV-3.
   Sinapis arvensis   -   Image Code: SNPAV-4.
   Sinapis arvensis   -   Image Code: SNPAV-5.
   Sinapis arvensis   -   Image Code: SNPAV-6.

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Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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