Grains Research and Development

Turnip weed

Turnip weed (Rapistrum rugosum)


Mature turnip weed plant / Turnip weed pods
(Photo Wilson et al 1995/ Andrew Storrie)

As an erect annual or biennial, turnip weed (Rapistrum rugosum) grows to a height of 1 m and is covered in short, stiff hairs. The upper leaves have a petiole and the flower petals are yellow with dark veins.

Turnip weed is difficult to distinguish from other brassica species until pods form. Pods are 5 to 10 mm long and consist of two segments. The lower segment is 2 to 5 mm long, often with no seeds, while the upper segment is globular, wrinkled and ribbed with a conical beak, usually containing a single seed. The pods do not split upon ripening.

Factors that make Turnip weed a major weed:

  • Very competitive
  • Produces a large number of seeds
  • Causes problems at harvest
  • Readily dispersed in agriculture
  • Can develop herbicide resistance
  • Can have an impact on other farm enterprises

Further detail about this weed including integrated weed management tactics that could be considered when developing a management plan can be found in the section on problem weeds in the Integrated Weed Management Manual.

Further information

Ecology and biology of common weeds are outlined in section 6 of the Integrated Weed Management Manual.