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Treacle Mustard

Erysimum cheiranthoides

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Brassicaceae (Cabbage)
Also in this family:
Alpine Pennycress, Alpine Rock-cress, American Wintercress, Annual Wall Rocket, Austrian Yellowcress, Awlwort, Bastard Cabbage, Black Mustard, Bristol Rock-cress, Charlock, Common Scurvygrass, Common Whitlowgrass, Coralroot, Creeping Yellowcress, Cuckooflower, Dame's-violet, Danish Scurvygrass, Dittander, Early Wintercress, Eastern Rocket, English Scurvygrass, Evergreen Candytuft, False London Rocket, Field Pennycress, Field Pepperwort, Flixweed, Garden Arabis, Garden Candytuft, Garden Cress, Garden Radish, Garden Rocket, Garlic Mustard, Glabrous Whitlowgrass, Gold of Pleasure, Great Yellowcress, Greater Cuckooflower, Greater Periwinkle, Greater Swinecress, Hairy Bittercress, Hairy Rock-cress, Hairy Rocket, Hairy Whitlowgrass, Hedge Mustard, Hoary Cress, Hoary Mustard, Hoary Stock, Hoary Whitlowgrass, Honesty, Horseradish, Hutchinsia, Hybrid Watercress, Intermediate Periwinkle, Isle of Man Cabbage, Large Bittercress, Lesser Swinecress, London Rocket, Lundy Cabbage, Marsh Yellowcress, Mountain Scurvygrass, Narrow-fruited Watercress, Narrow-leaved Bittercress, Narrow-leaved Pepperwort, Northern Rock-cress, Northern Yellowcress, Oilseed Rape, Perennial Rocket, Perennial Wall Rocket, Perfoliate Pennycress, Pinnate Coralroot, Purple Rock-cress, Pyrenean Scurvygrass, Rock Whitlowgrass, Russian Rocket, Scottish Scurvygrass, Sea Kale, Sea Radish, Sea Rocket, Sea Stock, Shepherd's Cress, Shepherd's Purse, Small-flowered Wintercress, Smith's Pepperwort, Steppe Cabbage, Swede, Sweet Alyssum, Tall Rocket, Thale Cress, Tower Mustard, Trefoil Cress, Turnip, Wall Whitlowgrass, Wallflower, Wallflower Cabbage, Warty Cabbage, Watercress, Wavy Bittercress, White Mustard, Wild Cabbage, Wild Candytuft, Wild Radish, Wild Turnip, Wintercress, Woad, Yellow Whitlowgrass
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, riversides, roadsides, rocky places, seaside, wasteland.

Yellow, 4 petals
Clusters of yellow flowers. Up to 7mm in diameter. Pollinated by insects.
Notably long, 4-angled, erect cylindrical pods. Up to 5cm long. Many seeded.
A slender, hairy annual with 4-angled stems. The leaves are long and narrow and toothed. The basal rosette of leaves quickly die back. The leaves are alternate along the stems and almost stalkless.
Other Names:
Treacle Wormseed, Wallflower Mustard, Wormseed Mustard, Wormseed Stock, Wormseed Wallflower.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Erysimum cheiranthoides, also known as wormseed wallflower or wormseed stock, is a species of flowering plant in the mustard family. It is native to Europe and western Asia and is commonly found in coastal habitats, rocky outcrops, and waste places. The plant has long, narrow leaves and small, bright yellow flowers that bloom in spring and summer. It is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant that can grow in poor, sandy soils. The plant has been used in traditional medicine for treating various ailments, including respiratory conditions and skin irritations. It's also used as ornamental plant, and has been cultivated for centuries in gardens and cemeteries.


Treacle mustard, also known as wormseed wallflower or Erysimum cheiranthoides, is a flowering plant that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia but can be found in various parts of the world, including North America. Treacle mustard has a long history of medicinal use and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including intestinal worms, stomachaches, and skin diseases.

Treacle mustard is a biennial plant that grows up to 2 feet tall and produces bright yellow flowers in the spring and summer. The leaves of the plant are long and narrow, and the stem is covered in fine hairs. The plant is commonly found in grassy fields, meadows, and along roadsides.

One of the unique features of treacle mustard is its distinctive aroma. When the leaves of the plant are crushed, they release a strong, spicy scent that is often described as resembling treacle or molasses. This aroma is due to the presence of an essential oil called ascaridole, which has insecticidal properties.

Treacle mustard has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments. The plant contains a number of compounds that have been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as gastrointestinal issues like stomachaches and diarrhea.

In addition to its medicinal properties, treacle mustard has also been used as a culinary herb. The leaves and flowers of the plant can be used to flavor salads and soups, and the seeds can be ground and used as a spice. In traditional European cuisine, treacle mustard was often used to flavor meat dishes and sauces.

Despite its many uses, treacle mustard is not commonly cultivated or used today. This is largely due to the fact that it contains a toxic compound called erysimin, which can be harmful if ingested in large quantities. However, when used in small amounts and under the guidance of a qualified herbalist or healthcare professional, treacle mustard can be a powerful natural remedy with a wide range of health benefits.

Treacle mustard is a fascinating plant with a long history of medicinal and culinary use. Its unique aroma and powerful healing properties make it a valuable addition to any herbal medicine cabinet or kitchen spice rack. While it is important to exercise caution when using any natural remedy, treacle mustard is a safe and effective option when used in moderation and under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, treacle mustard also has cultural significance in some parts of the world. In traditional medicine practices, the plant is believed to have magical properties and is used in rituals to ward off evil spirits and protect against disease.

Treacle mustard has also been used in traditional veterinary medicine to treat parasitic infections in livestock. The essential oil of the plant is known to be effective against a variety of intestinal worms and has been used to treat infestations in sheep, goats, and cattle.

While treacle mustard is not widely cultivated, it is still found in the wild in many parts of the world. However, due to its toxicity, it is important to handle the plant with care and avoid ingesting large quantities of any part of the plant.

In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the medicinal properties of treacle mustard, and researchers are investigating its potential use in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and inflammation.

In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, treacle mustard has also been used in traditional crafts. The plant's stem fibers can be used to make twine, rope, and baskets, while the seeds can be used to dye fabrics and wool.

Treacle mustard is also a valuable plant for pollinators. Its bright yellow flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies, and it is an important source of nectar and pollen in the spring and summer months.

Despite its many uses, treacle mustard is facing some threats to its survival. Habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change are all factors that can impact the health and growth of the plant. It is important to protect and conserve treacle mustard and other wild plants to ensure their survival for future generations.

Treacle mustard has also been used in traditional folk medicine as a natural insecticide. The plant's essential oil, ascaridole, has been shown to be effective against a variety of insect pests, including mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. In some parts of the world, treacle mustard is used as a natural alternative to synthetic insecticides.

In addition to its insecticidal properties, treacle mustard has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. Studies have shown that the plant's extract can help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in conditions such as arthritis, back pain, and muscle soreness.

Treacle mustard is also believed to have antimicrobial properties, making it effective against a range of bacteria and fungi. In one study, researchers found that the plant's extract was effective against several strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA.

Despite its many benefits, treacle mustard is not without its risks. The plant contains toxic compounds that can be harmful if ingested in large quantities. It is important to use caution when using treacle mustard and to consult with a healthcare professional before using it as a natural remedy.

In conclusion, treacle mustard is a plant with a long history of medicinal and practical uses. From its insecticidal properties to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, treacle mustard is a valuable natural remedy with many potential benefits. However, it is important to use caution when using treacle mustard and to consult with a healthcare professional before using it as a natural remedy.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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