Mustard, the common name for a family of plants as well as the common name of a genus of this family. The family is made up of about 350 genera and more than 2,000 species, most of which are herbs. Representatives of the family are widely distributed throughout cold and temperate regions of the world. The family includes such ornamentals as wallflower, sweet alyssum, and candytuft and such familiar vegetables as watercress and radish.
The mustard genus is made up of nearly 100 species. It includes such familiar vegetables as cauliflower, broccoli, kale, turnips, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and Indian (or leaf) mustard, whose leaves are eaten as greens. Two speciesblack mustard and white mustardare sources of a condiment and certain medications. Table mustard is made by mixing finely ground black (and sometimes white) mustard seeds with vinegar or water, yellow turmeric (chiefly for color), and spices. The biting taste of mustard is due to a pungent oil contained in the seeds. Ground mustard seeds are also used in making ointments and some other medicines.
The mustard family is Cruciferae. The mustard genus is Brassica. Black mustard is B. nigra; white mustard, Sinapis alba; leaf mustard, B. juncea.Mustard seeds are ground to make the famous condiment as well as ointments and medicines.