Growth stages

Both species of mustard follow a very similar life cycle and growth pattern to canola (Brassica napus) and can be staged in a similar manner. The BBCH staging system is a uniform system that can be used to stage many different crops and weeds. It will be used as a guide to the principle mustard growth stages referred to throughout this manual.

Throughout the life cycle, mustard plants have eight principle growth stages: germination, leaf development, stem elongation, inflorescence emergence, flowering, fruit development, ripening and senescence. The staging system is organized by these principle growth stages and expanded to reflect the progression through each stage. Staging of crops is important for optimal timing of harvest and pest management strategies. A complete staging system is presented in the following table and the growth stages will be referenced throughout the remaining sections of the manual.

Code Description
Principle Growth Stage 0: Germination
0Dry seed
1Beginning of seed imbibition
3Seed imbibition complete
5Radicle emerged from the seed
7Hypocotyl with cotyledons emerged from the seed
8Hypocotyl with cotyledons growing towards the soil surface
9Emergence: cotyledons emerge through the soil surface
Principle Growth Stage 1: Leaf Development
10Cotyledons completely unfolded
11First leaf unfolded
122 leaves unfolded
133 leaves unfolded
1.Stages continuous until...
199 or more leaves unfolded
Principle Growth Stage 2: Side shoot development
20-29 Occur in many other species, but is of low relevance to mustard.
Principle Growth Stage 3: Stem elongation
30Beginning of stem elongation: Rosette
311 visible extended internode
322 visibly extended internodes
333 visible extended internodes
3.Stages continuous until...
399 or more visibly extended internodes
Principle Growth Stage 4: Vegetable plant part development
40-49 Occur in Brassicaceae, but are relevant for harvesting vegetable parts (ex: broccoli)
Principle Growth Stage 5: Inflorescence emergence
50Flower buds present, still enclosed by leaves
51Flower buds visible from above (green buds)
52Flower buds free and level with the youngest leaves
53Flower buds raised above the youngest leaves
55Individual flower buds (main inflorescence) visible but still closed
57Individual flower buds (secondary inflorescences) visible but still closed
59First petals visible, flower buds still closed (yellow buds)
Principle Growth Stage 6: Flowering
60First flowers open
6110% of flowers on main raceme open, main raceme elongating
6220% of flowers in main raceme open
6330% of flowers in main raceme open
6440% of flowers in main raceme open
65Full flowering: 50% of flowers in main raceme open, older petals falling
67Flowering declining: majority of petals fallen
69End of flowering
Principle Growth Stage 7: Development of Fruit
7110% of pods have reached final size
7220% of pods have reached final size
7330% of pods have reached final size
7440% of pods have reached final size
7550% of pods have reached final size
7660% of pods have reached final size
7770% of pods have reached final size
7880% of pods have reached final size
79Nearly all pods have reached final size
Principle Growth Stage 8: Ripening
80Beginning of ripening: seed green, filling pod cavity
8110% of pods ripe, seeds dark and hard (yellow for yellow and oriental mustards)
8220% of pods ripe
8330% of pods ripe
8440% of pods ripe
8550% of pods ripe
8660% of pods ripe
8770% of pods ripe
8880% of pods ripe
89Fully ripe
Principle Growth Stage 9: Senescence
97Plant is dead and dry
99Harvested product

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