Brassicaceae: Characters, Distribution and Common Species

Brassicaceae: Characters, Distribution and Common Species

General Characteristics

1. Habit

Seasonal or perennial herbs, Biennial, Annual.

2. Roots

Fibrous or tuberous taproots.

3. Stem

Woody or solid, Herbaceous, Aerial, Cylindrical.

4. Leaves

Generally, leaves are covered by simple or branched hairs. Simple, Alternate, Petiolate, Exstipulate, Reticulate venation.

5. Inflorescence

Simple racemose, it becomes corymbose raceme.

6. Flower

Hypogynous ( Ovary is superior ), Hermaphrodite ( Both male and female sex organs are present on the same plant), complete, regular, actinomorphic ( cut from any axis ), ebracteate, pedicellate.

7. Calyx (Sepals)

4 calyx or sepals, green, free, dimerous ( Placed in two whorls ).

8. Corolla (Petals)

4 petals or corolla, arranged in a single whorl.

9. Stamens/Androceium

6 stamens, free,


Two lateral stamens are smaller but four median stamens are larger.

Basifixed, nectaries are present at the base of stamens.

10. Carpel/Gynasium/ Pistel

2 carpel or gymnasium, compound ovary, ovary unilocular but become bilocular due to formation of the false septum.

11. Fruits

Silicula or Siliqua.

12. Seed

Non~endospermic seed.

Floral Formula

Floral Diagram

Economic importance

1. Ornamental Plants

Many plants of this family are used for ornamental purposes. Like wallflower (Cherianthus Cheiri),  Candytuft ( Iberis Imara).

2. Medicinal Plants

Some plants of this family are used as medicines like Lepidium Sativum, Sisymbrium Irio.

3. Condiments

Some plants of this family are used as condiments. Like Brassica Alba and Brassica Nigra.

4. Extraction of oil

Some plants of this family are used for the extraction of vegetable oil. I.e. Mustard Plant ( Brassica campestris) , Juncea, Eruca.

5. Vegetables

The roots, leaves, and fruits of many plants of Mustard family are used as vegetables. E.g. Brassica Napus (Turnip) , Brassica Oleracea (Cabbage), Raphanus Sativus (Radish), etc.

6. Fodder

Leaves, roots, and stems of Mustard family are used as fodder. Oil cake is obtained by crushing the seeds. It is given to cattle as fodder.


Some plants of the Mustard family act as a weed.

Distribution pattern

Brassicaceae is a large family. It has about 200 genera and 2000 species. They are mostly found in the temperate zone. Some species are also found in tropical areas.

Common species

1. Brassica compestris (Mustard)

2. Brassica Napus (Turnip)

3. Brassica oleracea (Cabbage)

4. Raphanus Stivus (Raddish)

5. Iberis Amara (Candytuft)

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