Selected Plants of Navajo Rangelands

Take care of our Navajo Rangelands


Growth habit of Descurainia pinnata showing its relatively compact footprint and reaching stem

Mustard plants can grow to about three feet in height. Several species from the mustard family can be found in the Navajo Nation. The most common are tansy mustard (Descurainia pinnata), which is native to the United States, and London rocket (Sisymbrium irio), which is introduced. While many members of this family are edible, some, such as tansy mustard, are poisonous to livestock. Most members of the mustard family have yellow or white flowers with four floral parts (petals, stamens, etc.). Many many species exist on the Navajo Nation.

Small yellow Descurainia pinnata flowers at the end of a stem with seedpods below
Seedpods of Descurainia pinnata. Mustard seedpods often have a characteristic appearance like a tiny  bean
Leaves of Descurainia pinnata, which are pinnate
The slightly bushier growth habit of Sisymbrium irio
Small yellow flowers of Sisymbrium irio
The seedpods of Sisymbrium irio are very long and narrow, almost like a spike!
Leaves of Sisymbrium irio are deeply lobed

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