FR: Moutarde GER: Senf IT: Senape
Mustard, the condiment, is based on the seed of three plants of the cabbage family. Two of them are closely related, have small round dark-coloured seeds and are known as black or brown mustard: the other, known as yellow or white mustard, has rather larger ochre yellow seeds. These three mustards are substantially different in character. Unfortunately, there is confusion of the popular names in American and English usage so it is best to refer to these plants by their Latin names. They are:
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Nigra or Black Mustard FR: Moutarde noir, Seneve GER: Schwarzen Senf IT: Senape nera SP: Mostaza negra BOT: Brassica nigra FAM: Cruciferae nigra or black mustard (also called brown mustard in the United Kingdom) probably originated in the Middle East although it is sometimes given as a native of Britain. It is undoubtedly an escape in North America. The seed of this plant was the basis of most mustards until the end of World War II, but because it is a huge plant, often growing eight or more feet high, and because also it drops its seed very easily when ripe, it proved an unsuitable crop for mechanized farming. Today, it is grown in only a few areas where, under a peasant farming economy, hand harvesting by sickle is still possible. Sicily, southern Italy and Ethiopia are some of the areas where it is still produced.