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The Difference Between Mustard and Canola

How to Tell the Difference Between Mustard and Canola

(Brassica napus)
Brown or oriental mustard
(Brassica juncea)
Yellow mustard
(Sinapis alba)

Heart-shaped cotyledons and leaf stalks are hairless.

First true leaves have a hairless upper surface with scarce hairs on the underside of the leaf. 


Heart-shaped cotyledons and leaf stalks are hairless.

First true leaves are covered with hairs on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces. Hairs on leaves are less dense than on yellow mustard leaves. 

Heart shaped cotyledons have a few hairs on the edges and upper surface. Stems and leaf stalks are densely pubescent (hairy).

First true leaves have a dense covering of hair on both the upper and lower surfaces.
Adult Leaves  

Adult leaves are dark, bluish-green, waxy and either hairless or with a few sparse hairs near the leaf margin.

The leaves will be rounded and will partially clasp the stem. 

Leaves are pale green with hairs on the first leaves and leaf margins.

The lower leaves will be deeply lobed, while the upper leaves will be narrower and not lobed.

The leaf will terminate higher up on the petiole and will not clasp the stem.  


Leaves are light-green, densely pubescent and deeply lobed.

The leaf will terminate higher up on the leaf stalk and will not clasp the stem.  

Yellow flowers with light yellow petals.


Pale yellow flowers. 


Yellow flowers that are smaller than canola's.

Stems  Hairless and smooth
 Hairless and smooth
Pubescent with lots of small hairs on the stems and petioles. 

Long narrow pods with a smooth, medium conical peak.

Pods are usually positioned at a right angle to the stem.

Smooth long, conical beaked pods. 

The pods are usually positioned 45º to the stem.

Pods are long, flat and covered with small hairs. 

Pods are positioned at a right angle to the stem. 

Seeds are black in colour and spherical to oval in shape. They are larger than brown and oriental mustard, but smaller than yellow mustard seeds. 


Brown Mustard

Seeds are reddish brown to dark brown in colour and are 2mm or less in diameter.  They have spherical or oval shape.


Seeds are light creamy yellow to yellow with the occasional seed being light or yellowish brown.  The seeds will be spherical or oval in shape with a diameter of 2-3mm.


Oriental Mustard

Seeds will be predominately yellow to dark yellow in colour with some seeds light brown to dark brown. They will be oval in shape with a width of 1.2 to 2.0 mm and a length of 1.6-3mm

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