This is charlock (Sinapis arvensis) photographed in the reserve this week by Clive Knight. It likes disturbed ground and Clive found this specimen growing in the spoil from the wetland scrapes in Lambrok Meadow.
Charlock is also called wild mustard or field mustard and is believed to be what botanists call an archeotype: the original Sinapis species from which all the cultivated mustards were developed.
It has been around, a troublesome weed in cultivated ground, for so long that nobody can tell where it came from. Some authorities call it native, others think it is an alien. We do know that it is native to mainland Europe, and in the Americas, where it is not native, it has achieved the status of invasive alien.
Sinapis arvenisis belongs to the brassica family and is genetically so similar to so many Brassicaceae that the small white butterfly (Pieris rapae) and the green veined white butterfly (Pieris napi) will use it as a food plant for their larvae.
It’s very familiar but I had never heard it called charlock before, we learn something new every day!
I have always known it as charlock although it has other names.