General description:- Annual to perennial herbs, rarely small shrubs.

Leaves:- Alternate, exstipulate.

Flowers:- Usually hermaphrodite, radially symmetrical (actinomorphic), the sepals,
petals and stamens inserted on the receptacle below and free from the ovary
(hypogynous). Sepals 4, free, in 2 at right angles to each other (decussate) pairs.
Petals 4, rarely absent, free, clawed, overlapping (imbricate) or contorted,
alternating with the sepals. Stamens usually 6, rarely 4, 2 or 0, tetradynamous (an
outer pair with short filaments, and 2 inner pairs, 1 posterior and 1 anterior, with
long filaments); filaments sometimes winged or with a tooth-like appendage.
Nectarial glands of various sizes, shapes, colours and dispositions around the base
of the stamens and ovary. Ovary of 2 united carpels, (syncarpous), with 2 parietal
placentas, usually 2-celled (bilocular) through the formation of a membranous false
septum by the union of outgrowths of the placentas, sometimes transversely multi-
celled (plurilocular). Stigma capitate to bilobed.

Fruit:- Usually a capsule splitting open to release the seeds (dehiscent) by 2 valves
from below, called a siliqua when at least 3 times as long as wide or a silicula if
less than 3 times as long as wide; sometimes indehiscent, breaking into 1-seeded
portions or not; rarely transversely articulate with dehiscent and indehiscent
segments; sometimes dividing at maturity into 1-seeded portions (lomentum).

There is great diversity in the form and structure of the fruit in this family, often
affording an easy means of identification, especially in genera which possess a
distinctive siliqua or silicula. The seeds are always inserted in 2 rows in each
loculus, but where the diameter of the seed is approximately the same as that of
the fruit they appear to be in 1 row, and are so described.

Many species in this family, especially among the annuals, are found in Europe
principally or exclusively as weeds of cultivation or as ruderals.Double click to edit

IBERIS

General description:- Annuals or perennials, rarely dwarf shrubs; glabrous or with
unbranched hairs.

Flowers:- Inflorescence corymbose or racemose, often elongating in fruit. Sepals
not saccate; petals white, pink or purple, the 2 outer much larger than the 2 inner;
median nectaries absent.

Fruit:- An angusti-septate silicula; valves keeled and usually winged at the apex;
style long; stigma capitate. Seeds solitary in each loculus, often winged.

Key features:-
1) Seeds solitary in each loculus.

All species are usually found in calcareous habitats.

LEPIDIUM

General description:- Annuals to perennials, sometimes small shrubs; papillose
or with usually unbranched hairs.

Flowers:- Small, in dense, terminal, ebracteate racemes. Sepals not saccate;
petals white (rarely yellow or absent); stamens 2, 4 or 6. Style short or absent.

Fruit:- An angusti-septate (with narrow partitions) silicula; valves strongly keeled,
winged. Seeds usually 2, one pendent from the apex of each loculus.

Key features:-
1) Style short or absent.

Sect. LEPIA

Leaves:- Middle and upper cauline leaves amplexicaul.

Flowers:- Stamens 6.

Fruit:- Silicula broadly winged above, the wing connate with the lower part of the
style.

Sect. LEPIDIUM.

Silicula not or very slightly winged, not or slightly notched. Stamens 6.

Sect. LEPIOCARDAMON

Leaves:- Cauline leaves not clasping the stem (amplexicaul).

Flowers:- Stamens 6.

Fruit:- Silicula obovate, very deeply notched, broadly winged above.

LOBULARIA

General description:- Annuals or perennials, hairs bifid.

Flowers:-
1) Sepals patent, not saccate at the base.
2) Petals usually white, entire.
3) Filaments not winged and without appendages.

Fruit:-
1) A latiseptate silicula;
2) Valves slightly inflated, with a more or less distinct median vein.
3) Style distinct.
4) Stigma capitate.
5) Seeds 1-5 in each loculus.

LUNARIA

General description:- Biennials or perennials; hairs simple.

Leaves:- Simple, toothed.

Flowers:- Sepals erect, the inner saccate at the base; petals long-clawed. Style
long; stigma slightly lobed.

Fruit:- A silicula, strongly compressed, latiseptate (flattened 2-locular capsule with
the partition across the broad diameter).

Key features:-
1) Terrestrial or, if aquatic, not scapose.
2) Ovary without a glandular ring.
3) Glabrous or with unbranched hairs.
4) Sepals erect or nearly so (calyx closed).
5) Petals at least 10 mm, red, purple or rarely white;
6) Silicula at least 20 mm.

LUTZIA

General description:- Perennials; hairs branched or stellate.

Flowers:- Sepals erect or erecto-patent, the inner saccate at the base; petals
yellow, long-clawed. Style long; stigma capitate or emarginate.

Fruit:- A silicula latiseptate, (flattened 2-locular capsule with the partition across
the broad diameter); valves inflated, without a conspicuous median vein; Seeds 4-8
in each loculus, usually winged.

Key features:-
1) Silicula dehiscent, variously shaped, not reticulate-rugose.
2) Silicula with a stem-like structure (stipitate).
3) Valves of the silicula not reticulately veined.
4) Cauline leaves not sagittate-amplexicaul.
5) Petals at least 12 mm.
6) Seeds and ovules 4-8 in each loculus.

MALCOLMIA

General description:- Annuals to perennials; hairs variable or plant subglabrous.

Flowers:- Sepals erect, the inner usually  pouch-shape (saccate) at the base;
petals pink to violet, rarely white, long-clawed; median nectaries absent. Stigma
deeply 2-lobed or with a with rounded indentation at the apex (retuse), the lobes
erect and united (connate). Style absent or indistinct.

Fruit:- A siliqua; valves 3-veined;  Seeds in 1 row in each loculus.

Key features:-
1) Lobes of the stigma erect, connate.

MATTHIOLA

General description:- Annuals to perennials; hairs branched.

Flowers:- Sepals erect, the inner saccate at the base; petals purple, white, or
yellowish, long-clawed. Style absent; stigma deeply 2-lobed, the lobes erect, each
with a dorsal swelling or horn.

Fruit:- A siliqua; valves 1-veined;  Seeds in 1 row in each loculus.

Key features:-
1) Hairs stellate, branched, or a mixture of branched and unbranched.
2) Stigma deeply 2-lobed, the lobes sometimes erect and connate to form a beak
on the siliqua.
3) Lobes of the stigma with a dorsal swelling or horn.

A number of species are cultivated for ornament.

RICOTIA

General description:- Annuals or perennials; glabrous or with unbranched hairs.

Leaves:- Entire to pinnatisect.

Flowers:- Sepals erect, the inner saccate at the base; petals pink or violet,
clawed.
Stigma pin-headed (capitate). Style short.

Fruit:- A pendent siliqua or latiseptate silicula.

THLASPI/MICROTHLAPSI

General description:- Annuals or perennials, hairs unbranched or absent.

Leaves:- Stalkless (sessile), cauline leaves more or less stalk-clasping
(amplexicaul).

Flowers:- Inflorescence racemose, ebracteate. Sepals erect, not pouch-shaped
(saccate); petals usually white or purplish, shortly clawed; stamens without
appendages. Stigma pin-headed (capitate), somewhat 2-lobed.

Fruit:- An angusti-septate (narrow partitioned) silicula, with or without an apical
notch, the valves keeled and usually winged;  Seeds 1-8 in each loculus.

Key features:-
1) Inflorescence ebracteate.
2) Seeds solitary or 2-8 in each loculus.
3) Style 07-3 mm.

Sect. THLASPI

Fruit:- Silicula obovate or orbicular, plano-convex, narrowly to broadly winged, with
or without a notch; style included to exserted.


Key features:-
1) Petals at least 5 mm, pink or violet.
2) Fruit at least 10 mm, neither reticulately veined nor emarginate.

NASTURTIUM

General description:- Perennials; glabrous or with few unbranched hairs.

Leaves:- Pinnate to pinnatisect (divided into more than three leaflets or lobes, the
divisions extending almost to the midrib).

Flowers:- Petals white, rarely pale purplish. Style short; stigma pin-headed
(capitate), slightly 2-lobed.

Fruit:- A siliqua, valves with weak median vein; Seeds in 1 or 2 rows in each
loculus. Radicle (the first root arising from the germinating seed) accumbent.

Key features:-
1) Stem glabrous.
2) Radicle accumbent.
3) Leaves pinnate.
4) Siliqua not more than 30 mm.
5) Pedicels up to 10 mm or more in fruit, thinner than the siliqua.

NESLIA

General description:- Annuals; hairs branched.

Leaves:- Simple.

Flowers:- Inflorescence an ebracteate raceme. Sepals erect, not saccate; petals
yellow; stamens without appendages.

Fruit:- An indehiscent, latiseptate silicula; style distinct; stigma minute, slightly 2-
lobed. Seeds 1-3.

1) Hairy, at least some of the hairs branched or stellate.
2) Sepals erect (calyx closed).
3) Silicula indehiscent, subglobose or sometimes compressed reticulate-rugose.

THLAPSI/NOCCAEA

General description:-  Annuals or perennials.

Leaves:-
1) Cauline sessile, more or less amplexicaul; hairs unbranched or absent.

Flower:-
1) Inflorescence racemose, ebracteate.
2) Sepals erect, not saccate.
3) Petals usually white or purplish, shortly clawed.
4)  Stamens without appendages.

Fruit:- 
1) An angusti-septate silicula, with or without an apical notch.
2) valves keeled and usually winged.
3) Stigma capitate, somewhat 2-lobed.
4) Seeds 1-8 in each loculus.

RAPHANUS

General description:- Annuals to perennials.

Flowers:- Raceme ebracteate. Sepals erect; petals abruptly contracted into a
claw; filaments without appendages.

Fruit:- A transversely articulate siliqua; lower segment very short, slender,
seedless, indehiscent; upper circular in section, straight-sided, or lomentaceous (at
least in part), or constricted between the seeds but not breaking up into 1-seeded
portions; beak narrow, seedless.

Key features:-
1) Racemes ebracteate.
2) Leaves longer than wide, entire to pinnate, not cordate.
3) Lower segment of fruit indehiscent, either sterile and stipitate or very small with
0-2 seeds.

RAPISTRUM

General description:- Annuals to perennials, with unbranched hairs.

Flowers:- Sepals erecto-patent; petals yellow, with a short claw.

Fruit:- A transversely articulate silicula; lower segment cylindrical, with (0)1-3
seeds upper segment ovoid to globose, wider than the lower, indehiscent,
caducous at maturity, with a single erect seed; beak conical or filiform.

Key features:-
1) Petals yellow.
2) Upper segment of fruit variously ribbed, but not winged, usually glabrous or with
appressed hairs, not pungent. 

SINAPIS

General description:- Annuals or perennials.

Leaves:- Partly or wholly divided into lobes (pinnatifid or pinnatisect).

Flowers:- Sepals spreading (patent), equal or subequal; petals yellow, clawed.

Fruit:- A siliqua with a long beak; valves distinctly 3- to 7-veined. Seeds in 1 row in
each loculus, globose.

Key features:-
1) Siliqua with a beak at least 7 mm.

SISYMBRIUM

General description:- Annuals to perennials; glabrous or with unbranched hairs.

Leaves:- Entire to pinnate.

Flowers:- Sepals not saccate at the base; petals yellow, rarely white, entire.

Fruit:- A siliqua; valves usually 3-veined; style distinct or indistinct; stigma more or
less 2-lobed. Seeds small (usually less than 25 mm).

1) Cauline leaves not amplexicaul.
2) Most flowers subtended by a bract.
3) Sepals patent or erecto-patent.
4) Siliqua not beaked, with a style not exceeding 2(-4) mm.

Many of the widespread lowland species occur as weeds, and are often of uncertain
status in many parts of Europe.

Sect. CHAMAEPLIUM
1) Inflorescence usually bracteate.
2) Petals pale yellow.
3) Valves of the siliqua 3-veined.

Sect. IRIO

Flowers:- Inflorescence ebracteate. Petals yellow.

Fruit:- Valves of the siliqua 3-veined.

Sect. SISYMBRIUM

Flowers:- Inflorescence ebracteate. Petals yellow.

Fruit:- Siliqua patent, with 80-120 seeds.

Sect. VELARUM

Flowers:- Inflorescence ebracteate. Petals yellow.

Fruit:- Siliqua closely appressed to the stem.

TEESDALIA

General description:- Annuals; glabrous or with unbranched hairs.

Leaves:- Mostly basal, usually pinnatifid.

Flowers:- Sepals erecto-patent; petals white; stamens 4 or 6, the filaments with a
white basal scale.

Fruit:- An angusti-septate silicula, obtuse or obcordate, with thin-walled valves,
narrowly winged in the upper part; style very short or absent. Seeds (1)2 in each
loculus.

Key features:-
1) Style inconspicuous, up to 03 mm.
2) Annual.
3) Stigma 2-lobed.
4) Petals (when present) equal in size.
5) Filaments with a wing or tooth-like appendage.
6) Leaves usually pinnatifid, mostly confined to a basal rosette.
7) Sepals erectopatent.