Bastard Cabbage

Rapistrum rugosum

Other Common Names

Turnip-weed, Common Giant Mustard, Ball Mustard, Wild Turnip, Wild Rape and Tall Mustard-weed

Plant Category


Invasive Description

Bastard Cabbage is native to southern Europe, the Azores, the Madeira Islands, Canary Islands, northern Africa, and western Asia. The plant is an annual, many-branched, herbaceous plant that grows from 1 to 5 feet or more in height. It has a robust taproot that can become quite large and deep-rooted. Leaves are deep green, lobed and wrinkled, and sometimes have a reddish cast. It typically flowers from early spring into summer, bearing clusters of small, showy yellow flowers at the tips of its branches, resembling those of broccoli and cabbage. It grows in open, disturbed sites such as roadsides and agricultural fields.

Ecological Threat

Bastard Cabbage seeds germinate early in the late fall or early winter and quickly cover the ground with a blanket of leafy rosettes (circles of leaves at ground level). These dense rosettes block sunlight from reaching seeds and seedlings of native plants. In some places it forms a monoculture (a vegetative cover of mostly one species). Annual Bastard Cabbage has long been established on agricultural fields, roadsides, and disturbed lands and is becoming invasive in natural areas such as open forests and along streams.

You may not want or need to replace this invasive plant, but if you do, options are listed below.

How to Eradicate

For information on how to eradicate this invasive, view our statement on herbicide use and preferred alternatives for invasive plants.

Native Alternatives

You can replace this invasive plant with native alternatives. Here are some plants that make superior replacements.

Match your location on the Texas map to the color squares on the replacement plants below to find suitable replacements for your ecoregion.

Click for more details about the ecoregions
Additional Replacement Options: Eschscholzia californica