by Diego, Jeffrey, and Amanda

    black mustard pic

    Did you know a millimeter seed can grow up into a plant that is six, sometimes twelve feet tall? Black Mustard is a non-native. A non-native is a plant that does not belong in the lagoon. It just got brought in by wind or animals. Some people say the Spaniards brought Black Mustard from Spain to mark a trail to their missions. It grows in the coastal sage scrub community. There is so much Black Mustard that when it blooms, the hillsides look like they have been painted with yellow paint. Helen Hunt Jackson described it as "a golden snowstorm".

    Black Mustard stems are slightly hairy when young but they become smooth as they grow older. The upper leaves are a lot smaller than the bottom ones. The edges of the leaves are squiggly with a little half circle called a lobe that grows at the ends. It blooms in the summer on tall stems and its stocks are very short in the winter. When it is December, I'm taller than it is and in summer, it is taller than me. It has a little bright yellow flower like a sea star's body that grows on small stems attached to the plant. The narrow seed pod is almost an inch long. Black Mustard smells like apple juice and dirt at the same time.

    The funny thing about Black Mustard is it does not look at all like mustard and isn't black. When you grind up the seed, you can make mustard.