Usually annual or perennial herb.


Tap root system.



Herbaceous, branched, erect, solid, cylindrical, nodes and internodes clear.


Simple, alternate, radicle or cauline, usually entire, sometimes lobed, petiolate, exstipulate, reticulate venation.



Raceme or corymbose raceme as in candytuft.


Ebracteate, pedicellate, usually actinomorphic but sometimes zygomorphic (candytuft), hermaphrodite, hypogynous, complete, regular, dimerous or tetramerous.



Sepals 4, polysepalous, arranged in two whorls of two each, imbricate aestivation.


Petals 4 arranged in one whorl and alternate with sepals, polypetalous, often with long claws and spread out in the form of Greek cross. This arrangement of the petals which is characteristic of the family is known as the cruciform arrangement and corolla is described as cruciform corolla, valvate aestivation.



Stamens 6, polyandrous, arranged in two whorls, tetradynamous, the outer two stamens are short while the four inner ones are long, anther bilobed, basifixed, introse.


Bicarpellary, syncarpous, ovary superior, unilocular but becomes bilocular due to the anterio-posterior partition (Pseudo septum) which develops by the ingrowth of the placentae i.e. parietal placentation, one or more than one ovule in each locule, style short with two stigmas, sometimes bilobed.


Fruit: Siliqua or silicula.

Economic Importance:

(A) Plants used as Food:

Brassica oleracea. There are a number of varieties Cabbage (Pattagobhi) is eaten for its leaves. (B. oleracea var capitata), the cauliflower (B. oleracea var botrytis) for its inflorescence and knol-knol (B. oleracea var coulorapa) for its thickened stem or the corm.


All these are used as vegetables. Raphanus sativus-roots & leaves are used as vegetables. Brassica campestris (yellow mustard). The seeds yield oil, the husk of oil seeds after extraction of the oil is used in the form of cakes for cattle. B. nigra (Black mustard), B. alba (white mustard) and B.juncea (rye) are used in spice.

(B) Plants used as Medicine:

Sisymbrium officinale: Stem and leaves are used for scurvy and scrofula diseases, Nasturtium indica seeds are used in asthma. Eruca satira oil is used in burns and other injuries. Lepidium sativum (garden cress) seeds are used in liver diseases.

(C) Ornamental Plants:

Alyssum, Cherianthus, Ibris amara (candytuft), Mathiola.