Moricandia arvensis: a very common unknown

moricandia arvensis flowers

La moricandia arvensis It is a plant that you will have seen hundreds of times on the side of the road. It is there, going practically unnoticed, but if we take a minute to look at it more closely, we see that it has some very pretty flowers.

For this reason, on this occasion we are going to dedicate a little time to this plant that, although unknown by name, we have all seen on occasion. It is very common in the Mediterranean area, and its presence is especially notable in the province of Almería.

Moricandia arvensis: characteristics and habitat of this wild plant

moricandi arvensis petals

Also known as moricandia de los campos or field mustard, it is a herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean regions and that grows wild in open areas, fields, meadows, and vacant lots. You can find it growing among some olive trees and also on the side of a road, because she is a true survivor.

To get to know it a little better, we will analyze some of its most outstanding physical characteristics, its way of adapting to the environment, and its habitat.

Characteristics of moricandia arvensis

This is a plant whose life cycle is only one or two years, during which time it can reach a height between 30 and 80 centimeters. It stands out for its erect stems and its lanceolate-shaped leaves, which are toothed and have irregular edges.

Hen four-petaled flowers are small in size and are grouped in dense clusters at the top of the stems. Their color varies from white to pale pink, but it is also very common to find them in lilac.

After flowering, the siliques, pod-like structures in which the seeds are found. For this reason, where there is one moricandia arvensis, it does not take long for there to be many more.

Habitat and distribution

This is a plant temperate climates, it is common to find it in the south and center of Spain, as well as in the Levantine area, but it is also present in western and central Europe.

It is a very resistant species that adapts well to different types of soils, even the most sandy and nutrient-poor. In addition, it fulfills an important function in the ecosystem, because its flowers are very attractive to pollinating insects. It therefore has a high ecological value that we should value.

Care and cultivation of moricandia arvensis in your garden

moricandia arvensis in the garden

Now that you know this plant a little better, you may find it a good addition to your garden. Despite being a wild variety, there is nothing that prevents you from taking care of it in a limited space such as your home. If you want to give it a try, here are some essential tips:

  • Location. Place the plant in a sunny location that receives direct sunlight for a minimum of six hours each day.
  • I usually. Moricandia arvensis can find nutrients where other plants won't, so it's not demanding when it comes to soil. Of course, better if the substrate has a good drainage capacity, because it does not carry moisture well at all.
  • Sowing. As we saw before, the seeds appear after the flowers, so you can get seeds of this plant by taking a pleasant walk in the countryside. But keep in mind that they are very small, so spread them out evenly when planting.
  • Irrigation. Both newly planted seeds and young seedlings need plenty of moisture, which does not mean that you should puddle the substrate during watering. Just make sure you water more often than you will need to later when the plant has grown. With the plant already established, you can space the watering, but it is convenient that the soil never becomes completely dry.
  • Pruning. If the plants get too big, you can thin them out so there is more space between them and they all get the light they need.
  • Fertilization. This is a plant accustomed to growing in soils with few nutrients, so it will survive well even without fertilizer.
  • Weeds. This variety does not like to compete with others for nutrients and water, so be careful to remove any weeds that may grow around it.
  • Plagues and diseases. This is a truly resistant plant, but as a member of the Brassicaceae family it is sensitive to aphid and caterpillar pests. Regularly inspect the plant and take action if you see that the proliferation of insects is significant.
  • Spread. After flowering, you can collect the seeds and continue propagating this plant. However, this is a variety that self-sows. If you don't collect the seeds, it will continue to grow where you planted it.

Its dubious role in gastronomy and traditional medicine

moricandia arvensis blooming

Unlike what happens with other varieties such as the aloe vera, regarding moricandia arvensis there is no evidence on its medicinal properties.

What is known is that this species has been present in the gastronomy of many cultures for hundreds of years. It is normal to consume it raw, or by cooking its leaves. However, not all parts of the plant are edible, so today it is not considered an alternative for human consumption. In some regions, the young leaves and stems are used as livestock fodder.

For those who do find the flowers of this plant very attractive and nutritious, it is for pollinating insects, such as bees and butterflies. For this reason, if you put it in your garden, it will not take long for you to see them appear, and this will contribute to making your plants even more beautiful and propagate better.

The moricandia arvensis seemed like a stranger and it turns out that we have seen it hundreds of times, we just had not paid enough attention to it. We hope you liked getting to know it a little more, and that you value the possibility of including it in your garden. We would like to know your experience, have you ever planted this variety? Has it given good results?

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