Sahara Mustard Consortium

... a UC resource for managing Sahara Mustard, Brassica tournefortii

The Sahara mustard Consortium is brought to you by Chris McDonald, Natural Resource Advisor with the University of California, Cooperative Extension.

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Sahara mustard was accidentally introduced to Southern California in the early 1920's. The first reported plant was from the Coachella valley in 1927. It was likely imported as a contaminant of live date palms imported to support the growing agricultural industry.

Since this time the plant quickly spread out from the deserts of Southern California. By the 1940's it had dispersed to the Colorado river. It steadily spread across Arizona and was approaching the Arizona-Colorado border by the 1970's. By 1990 it had spread to New Mexico, Guaymas (Mexico), Texas, and San Luis Obispo (CA). In 70 years the plant had spread nearly 1,000 miles.

Sahara mustard is a winter annual, it germinates in the winter and flowers in the spring setting seed and dying before the onset of summer  It outcompetes many native wildflowers and easily establishes on disturbed and sandy soils. It can also be found on rocky, clayey soils and in some areas is rapidly moving from being just a roadside weed to filling in undisturbed desert.

Sahara mustard also forms dense enough stands that soil moisture under perennial shrubs is reduced and those shrubs may die. Sahara mustard is transforming the Southwest deserts from one of wildflowers to one dominated by Sahara mustard.

No need to reinvent the wheel...

        ...Resources for information on Sahara mustard:

California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) SM page

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension SM Flyer

New Mexico State University SM Weeds Page

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Invaders Program

The Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy has some great before and after pictures (I’d steal them but that is copyright infringement)

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