Raphanus raphanistrum
(MHNT) Raphanus raphanistrum - flowers.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Raphanus
R. raphanistrum
Binomial name
Raphanus raphanistrum

Raphanus raphanistrum, also known as wild radish, white charlock or jointed charlock,[1] is a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. One of its subspecies, Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus, includes a diverse variety of cultivated radishes. The species is native to western Asia, Europe and parts of Northern Africa. It has been introduced into most parts of the world and is regarded as a habitat threatening invasive species in many areas, for example, Australia. It spreads rapidly and is often found growing on roadsides or in other places where the ground has been disturbed.


Wild radish grows as an annual or biennial plant, with a single taproot which is similar to that of the cultivated radish but less enlarged. It has basal leaves that are oblong-elliptic to spatula-shaped, the stem leaves are shorter and lobed.[2] It has hairy stems and can grow to between 20 and 60 centimetres (8 and 23+12 inches) tall.[3] It blooms between May and September, in the UK,[3] or between June and August, in the US.[2] The flowers very similar to those of the searocket, which is found in some of the same regions (in the US) and is easily distinguished from it by having thinner, non-succulent stems and leaves. The stems have wide spaced, four-petalled flowers 30–40 mm (1+141+12 in) across and varying in colour, usually from white to purple but sometimes light orange to yellow, often with colour shading within a single petal.[2] Later, on a short stalk,[2] it produces a podded seed capsule. Up to 8 round jointed pods, each containing one round or oval seed.[3]


It was formally described by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in his seminal publication 'Species Plantarum' on page 669 in 1753.[4][5][6]

The genome of wild radish is estimated to be ~515 in size,[7] whereas that of the edible variety is suggested to be ~539–574 Mb.[8][9][10] Several Raphanus raphanistrum genomes have been sequenced,[7][9][10] with one study reporting 98 % coverage of the gene space.[10] Researchers found evidence that the past whole-genome triplication that occurred before the divergence of Raphanus and Brassica has been followed by widespread gene loss in radish, resulting in the loss of ~38,000 genes from the wild radish genome.[7]

Raphanus raphanistrum has several known subspecies including:

It has several common names including jointed charlock,[2] jointed radish, jointed wild radish, white charlock,[3] and wild radish.[6][14]

It is often erroneously identified as mustard.

Distribution and habitat

It is native to temperate regions of North Africa, Europe and parts of Western Asia.[6]


It is found in North Africa, within Macaronesia, Madeira Islands, Canary Islands, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. Within Western Asia it is found in the Caucasus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. In eastern Europe, it is found within Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. In middle Europe, it is in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland. In northern Europe, in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and United Kingdom. In southeastern Europe, within Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. Also in southwestern Europe, it is found in France, Portugal and Spain.[6]


It is frost hardy, and even hard freezes only temporarily interrupt bloom. In Australia, it is regarded as a habitat threatening invasive species in many areas.[15][16][17] In Canada, it is a naturalised species and sometimes hybridizes with cultivated radish, R. sativus. It has also proved to be resistant to several herbicides.[18]

In southeastern USA, the pale yellow form is common, sometimes entirely taking over fields in wintertime. It is a significant source of pollen and nectar for a variety of pollinators, especially honey bees during the very early spring starting buildup. Female Andrena agilissima, or mining bees, frequent this plant to obtain pollen and nectar.[19] Other pollinators include cabbage butterflies and a few syrphid fly species.[20]


All tender parts of the plant are edible. The leaves and flowers have a spicy taste or aftertaste. The seedpods can be eaten, as can the outer skin of the root (after being washed).[21] It is said that John Walker cultivated sea radish root as an alternative to horseradish after discovering the plant on the west coast of Scotland as early as 1753.[22]



  1. ^ "Raphanus raphanistrum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  2. ^ a b c d e "Raphanus raphanistrum (Jointed Charlock)". Minnesota Wildflowers. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain. Reader's Digest. 1981. p. 40. ISBN 9780276002175.
  4. ^ "Brassicaceae Raphanus raphanistrum L." ipni.org. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Raphanus raphanistrum L. is an accepted name". 23 March 2012. plantlist.org. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "Taxon: Raphanus raphanistrum L." ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Moghe, Gaurav (May 2014). "Consequences of Whole-Genome Triplication as Revealed by Comparative Genomic Analyses of the Wild Radish Raphanus raphanistrum and Three Other Brassicaceae Species". The Plant Cell. 26 (5): 1925–1937. doi:10.1105/tpc.114.124297. PMC 4079359. PMID 24876251.
  8. ^ Johnston, J. Spencer; et al. (2005). "Evolution of Genome Size in Brassicaceae". Annals of Botany. 95 (1): 229–235. doi:10.1093/aob/mci016. PMC 1950721.
  9. ^ a b Mitsui, Yuki; et al. (2015). "The radish genome and comprehensive gene expression profile of tuberous root formation and development". Scientific Reports. 5: 10835. doi:10.1038/srep10835. PMC 4650646.
  10. ^ a b c Jeong, Young-Min; et al. (2016). "Elucidating the triplicated ancestral genome structure of radish based on chromosome-level comparison with the Brassica genomes". Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 129: 1357–1372. doi:10.1007/s00122-016-2708-0.
  11. ^ "Tropicos.org Missouri Botanical Garden". Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  12. ^ "Tropicos.org Missouri Botanical Garden". Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  13. ^ "Tropicos.org Missouri Botanical Garden". Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  14. ^ "Raphanus raphanistrum". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  15. ^ Peltzer, Sally. "Wild radish". Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  16. ^ Western Australian Herbarium, Biodiversity and Conservation Science. "Raphanus raphanistrum (FloraBase—the Western Australian Flora)". florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au. Retrieved 2020-03-20.
  17. ^ "Raphanus raphanistrum L." www.gbif.org. Retrieved 2020-03-20.
  18. ^ Warwick, Suzanne I.; Francis, Ardath (3 February 2005). "The biology of Canadian weeds. 132. Raphanus raphanistrum. L." Canadian Journal of Plant Science. Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre. 85 (3): 709–733. doi:10.4141/P04-120.
  19. ^ Giovanetti, Manuela; Lasso, Eloisa (July–September 2005). "Body size, loading capacity and rate of reproduction in the communal bee Andrena agilissima (Hymenoptera; Andrenidae)". Apidologie. 36 (3): 439–447. doi:10.1051/apido:2005028.
  20. ^ Koelling, Vanessa A.; Karoly, Keith (May 2007). "Self-pollen interference is absent in wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum, Brassicaceae), a species with sporophytic self-incompatibility". Am. J. Bot. 94 (5): 896–900. doi:10.3732/ajb.94.5.896. hdl:1808/10342. PMID 21636458. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  21. ^ Nyerges, Christopher (2017). Foraging Washington: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Foods. Guilford, CT: Falcon Guides. ISBN 978-1-4930-2534-3. OCLC 965922681.
  22. ^ Sowerby, James; Smith, James Edward (1806). English Botany: or, Coloured Figures of British Plants (First ed.).

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