Brassica juncea (L.) Czern.

Last updated: 17 April 2015

Scientific Name

Brassica juncea (L.) Czern.


Brassica argyi H.Lév., Brassica besseriana Andrz. ex Trautv., Brassica cernua (Thunb.) Matsum., Brassica cernua (Thunb.) F.B. Forbes & Hemsl., Brassica chenopodiifolia Sennen & Pau [Invalid], Brassica integrifolia (H.West) Rupr., Brassica japonica (Thunb.) Siebold ex Miq., Brassica lanceolata (DC.) Lange, Brassica napiformis (Pailleux & Bois) L.H.Bailey, Brassica richeri Lange, Brassica rugosa (Roxb.) Prain, Brassica rugosa (Roxb.) L.H. Bailey, Brassica taquetii H.Lév., Brassica willdenovii Boiss., Crucifera juncea E.H.L.Krause, Raphanus junceus (L.) Crantz, Sinabraca juncea (L.) G.H.Loos, Sinapis abyssinica A. Braun, Sinapis cernua Thunb., Sinapis chinensis L., Sinapis cuneifolia Roxb., Sinapis integrifolia H.West, Sinapis japonica Thunb., Sinapis juncea L.,   Sinapis lanceolata DC., Sinapis patens Roxb., Sinapis ramosa Roxb. ex Fleming Henry, Sinapis ramosa Roxb., Sinapis rugosa Roxb., Sinapis timoriana DC. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Sawi pahit, kai choy [2], biji sawi , sawi [3], sawi-sawi, sesawi [4]
English Indian mustard, chinese mustard, vegetable mustard [2], leaf mustard [4], mustard greens [5], brown mustard, common indian mustard, Dijon mustard, japenese greens, ostrich-plume, sarepta mustard, southern cole, swatow mustard [6]
China Gai cai, tian jie cai [3], gai jie, chun bu lao, xue li hong [4], gaii-choi, kai tsoi [6]
India Sarson (Hindi); saasive, sarshspa (Kannada); sarshapam.(Malayalam); mohair (Marathi); rajika, sarshapa (Sanskrit); kadugu, katuku (Tamil); sarsapamu, sasuvulu (Telugu) [3], assure raai, abba,carrupam [6]
Indonesia Sawi, sesawi [2]
Thailand Phakkat-khieo, phakkat-khieopli (Central) [2] [3]
Laos Kaad khièw [2] [3]
Philippines Mustasa (Tagalog) [2]
Cambodia Khat naa [2][3]
Vietnam C[ar]I canh, c[ar]I b[ej] xanh [2]
Japan Karashina, seiyou karashina [3]
Pakistan Jambo [6]
Bangladesh Asal raaii, laahaa [3]
Africa Laulau (Nigeria); haradali, mastadi (Tanzania); tsunga (Zimbabwe) [3]
Finland Mustasinappi [3]
Poland Kapusta sitowata [3]
Hungary Indiai mustár [3]
Netherlands Junceamosterd, sareptamosterd [3]
France Moutarde indienne, moutarde de chine [2], moutarde brune, moutarde jonciforme, chou des indes [3]
Germany Brauner senf, indischer senf [3]
Italy Senape indiana, senape bruna [3]
Portugal Mostarda Indiana [3]
Russia Gorchítsa, gorchítsa sareptskaia [3]
Spain Mostaza [3]
Turkey Yaprak hardal [3]
Republic Czech Brukev sítinovitá, hořčice černá sitinovitá [3].

Geographical Distributions

Brassica juncea crops are grown worldwide, from India to northern Africa, Central Asia (southern and south-eastern part of the former Soviet Union), Europe and North America. The exact origin is unknown, but as an amphidiploid it seems logical that it is originated in an area where the parental species, B. nigra (L.) Koch and B. rapa L., overlap in their distribution (e.g. Central Asia). It is generally agreed that the primary centre of diversity of B. juncea is Central Asia (north-west India, including the Punjab and Kashmir) with secondary centres in central and western China, Hindustan (East India and Burma) and Asia Minor (through Iran). [2]

Botanical Description

B. juncea is a member of the family Brassicaceae [1]. It is an erect annual to biennial herb that can grow up to 30-160 cm tall. It is normally unbranched but sometimes with long ascending branches in the upper part that is nearly smooth and nearly pale bluish-green. The taproot is sometimes enlarged (root mustard) [2].

The leaves are very variable in shape and size, pinnate or entire, petioled, pale to dark green, smooth or pubescent and heading or non-heading. [2]

The inflorescence is a corymbiform raceme, rather loose with numerous flowers and measures up to 60 cm long. The flowers are perfect. The ascending pedicel is 5-12 mm long. There are 4 green sepals that are oblong and measure 4-6 mm long. There are 4 petals that are clawed, obovate blade, measure 6-10 mm long and bright yellow. There are 6 tetradynamous stamens while the stigma is spherical. [2]

The fruit is a silique (more than 3 times as long as broad), linear, sometimes inflated and often torulose, measuring 25-75 mm x 2-3.5 mm, attenuate into a conical beak, dehiscent and contains of 10-20 seeds. [2]

The seed is spherical, brown to grey-black, measuring 1-1.5 mm in diametre and finely reticulated. [2]


Two varieties of mustards with varying usage have evolved from B. juncea, i.e. oilseed types and vegetable types. The oilseed types (oilseed mustard) are particularly important in India, Bangladesh and China. The vegetable types comprise forms with edible leaves (leaf mustard), stems (stem mustard) and roots (root mustard). The vegetable mustards are widely cultivated in Asian countries. The highest degree of variation occurs in China, which is regarded as the primary centre of varietals differentiation. [2]

B. juncea has the best tolerance to high temperatures and humidity among the allied species, providing a good supply of leafy greens when the cool season cabbages could not. It’s ecological complementarily with the cool season cabbages enabled mustard to develop as an important vegetable because it did not have to compete with the high-yielding crucifers such as Chinese cabbage. It has also basically determined the distribution of the two types. In the tropics, it is commonly grown in the cooler highland areas whereas the leaf is widely grown in the lowlands. The leaf grows best in fertile and well-drained loamy soils that are relatively rich in organic matter. As vegetables, B. juncea has a wide variation in flowering behaviour. The seeds are the most commonly grown cultivars that can be produced easily in the tropics, even under lowland conditions of the tropical fringes. Ordinarily, however, a good seed development requires moderately cool and dry conditions which are often obtained only at medium to high elevations in the tropics. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of B. juncea (L.) Czern.[2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Brassica juncea (L.) Czern.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Apr 18; cited 2015 Apr 17]. Available from:
  2. Siemonsma JS, Piluek K, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 8. Vegetables. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers, 1993; p. 82–86.
  3. Philippine Medicinal Plants. Mustasa. Brassica juncea Hook. f. & Thoms.[homepage on the Internet]. c2014 [updated 2013 Jun; cited 2015 Apr 17]. Available from:
  4. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p.118.
  5. Derek BM. Vegetables of Canada. Ottawa, Canada: NRC Research Press; 1997. p. 93.
  6. Umberto Q. CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology (5 Volume Set). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2012. p. 645