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Bastard Cabbage

Rapistrum rugosum

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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, 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, Treacle 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:
80 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, wasteland.

Yellow, 4 petals
Bright yellow flowers in a spike. Flowers are dark-veined and up to 2cm in diameter.
The fruit is a waisted pod with a long style. The upper part of the fruit is ovoid in shape.
A bushy annual or short-lived perennial plant with pinnately lobed leaves.
Other Names:
Annual Bastard-cabbage, Roughfruit Rape, Roughfruit Turnip.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Rapistrum rugosum, also known as roughfruit turnip or roughfruit rape, is a species of flowering plant in the cabbage family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and has been introduced to other parts of the world as a weed. The plant is known for its hairy leaves and yellow flowers, and can grow up to 1.5 meters in height. It is a biennial plant, meaning it takes two years to complete its life cycle. In the first year, the plant produces a rosette of leaves, and in the second year it produces a tall stem with flowers and seeds. Rapistrum rugosum is considered an invasive weed in many areas, as it can grow aggressively and displace native vegetation. The plant is commonly found in fields, gardens, and waste areas. It is toxic to livestock, and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.


Bastard Cabbage, also known as Rapistrum rugosum, is a plant species that belongs to the Brassicaceae family. It is a type of wild mustard that is commonly found in Europe and Asia, and has since become an invasive weed in many regions of the world, including North America.

One of the key features of Bastard Cabbage is its rough and deeply wrinkled leaves that give it its scientific name "rugosum". It has bright yellow flowers that bloom from June to August and can grow up to 1.5 meters tall. The plant reproduces rapidly and is known for its aggressive spread, which can cause harm to native plant species and agriculture crops.

Despite its reputation as a nuisance weed, Bastard Cabbage has some interesting uses. For instance, it is used in traditional medicine for its medicinal properties. The plant is said to have anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and diuretic effects. Additionally, the young leaves and shoots of the plant are edible and can be used in salads or cooked as a vegetable.

However, the negative impact of Bastard Cabbage on the environment cannot be ignored. It is a very competitive plant that can quickly outcompete and displace native vegetation, leading to a decline in biodiversity. Moreover, it can negatively impact the productivity of crops by competing for water, nutrients, and light.

To control the spread of Bastard Cabbage, it is recommended to remove it as soon as it is noticed and before it has a chance to flower and set seed. This can be done manually or with the help of herbicides. It is important to take action to control the spread of this invasive species to protect the environment and conserve native plant species.

Bastard Cabbage, also known as Rapistrum rugosum, is a plant species that is considered a weed in many regions due to its aggressive spread and negative impact on the environment. However, it has some interesting uses and has been used in traditional medicine for its medicinal properties. It is important to control its spread to protect the environment and conserve native plant species.

Bastard Cabbage is a hardy plant that can grow in a wide range of habitats, including meadows, pastures, roadsides, and waste ground. It is highly tolerant to drought and can grow in soils that are low in nutrients, which makes it difficult to eradicate.

In agricultural settings, Bastard Cabbage can be particularly problematic as it can cause a reduction in crop yields. The plant is known to release allelopathic chemicals that can inhibit the growth of nearby crops, leading to a decline in productivity. Additionally, it can provide a habitat for pests and diseases, which can further reduce crop yields.

In some regions, Bastard Cabbage is considered a threat to the survival of native plant species. The plant can outcompete and displace native vegetation, leading to a decline in biodiversity and a loss of habitat for wildlife. Moreover, it can negatively impact the ecological function of ecosystems by altering the nutrient cycle and reducing soil fertility.

To manage the spread of Bastard Cabbage, it is essential to implement integrated pest management strategies that incorporate cultural, biological, and chemical control methods. Cultural control methods include removing the plant before it flowers and sets seed, and planting native species that are more resistant to the weed. Biological control methods include using insects and pathogens that feed on the plant and reduce its population. Chemical control methods include using herbicides that are specific to the plant species.

Bastard Cabbage is a plant species that can have a negative impact on the environment and agriculture. It is essential to implement effective management strategies to control its spread and minimize its impact. With proper management, it is possible to protect the environment and conserve native plant species, as well as ensure a sustainable and productive agricultural sector.

It's also worth noting that Bastard Cabbage is a very resilient plant and can quickly adapt to changing conditions. This makes it difficult to control and manage, as it can quickly evolve resistance to herbicides and other control methods.

For this reason, it is important to regularly monitor areas for the presence of Bastard Cabbage and take action as soon as it is noticed. Early detection and rapid response is critical to prevent the spread of this invasive weed.

In addition to managing the spread of Bastard Cabbage, it is also important to educate the public about the negative impact of this plant and the importance of controlling its spread. Raising awareness about the dangers of invasive species can help to reduce the spread of Bastard Cabbage and other invasive weeds, and encourage the conservation of native plant species.

Another important aspect of managing Bastard Cabbage is to monitor its distribution and spread, and to gather data on its biology and ecology. This information can be used to develop effective management strategies and to evaluate the effectiveness of control methods.

In conclusion, Bastard Cabbage is a highly invasive and resilient plant that can have a significant impact on the environment and agriculture. Effective management requires a combination of cultural, biological, and chemical control methods, along with early detection and rapid response, public education, and monitoring. By working together, it is possible to control the spread of Bastard Cabbage and conserve the biodiversity of our natural environments.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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