Sisymbrium irio - L.
London Rocket
Other English Common Names: London mustard
Other Common Names: London rocket
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Sisymbrium irio L. (TSN 23314)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.139006
Element Code: PDBRA2C040
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Mustard Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Capparales Brassicaceae Sisymbrium
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Sisymbrium irio
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arizona (SNA), California (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Florida (SNA), Hawaii (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), Texas (SNA), Utah (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZexotic, CAexotic, CTexotic, FLexotic, HIexotic, MA, MIexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, PAexotic, SCexotic, TXexotic, UTexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Unknown
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Sisymbrium irio, London rocket or London mustard, is a member of the Cruciferae and is in a few northeastern states, is present in only two states in the southeast, and is sometimes abundant in the southwest. This species appears to be most problematic in the Sonoran Desert and the Mojave Desert. It documented in the federally listed, Gopher Tortoise's habitat, in the Mojave desert, and outcompetes native plant species there. This mustard species may also indirectly affect the nutrient intake of this rare tortoise by displacing native plant species containing nutrients the tortoises require. This species tends to occur in disturbed places in most of its range, except in the desert, and doesn't appear to be aggressive invader of most natural areas. With that said, it does seem to be spreading in the southwest. Finally, this species produces a large number of seeds which aids its ability to spread in the southwest.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Insignificant
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Unknown
I-Rank Review Date: 05Apr2004
Evaluator: Oliver, L.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: This mustard species is native to Africa, temperate and tropical Asia and Europe (GRIN). Rollins (1993) only mentions this species native to Europe.

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Sisymbrium irio, London rocket, is a mustard species that is known from the northeast from New York and Massachusetts south to Pennsylvania and west to Ohio and Michigan. It is also present in two southeast states, Georgia and Florida and absent from the midwest and northwest states. It is present though in the southwest from Texas west to California, and documented in Hawaii (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: London rocket has invaded native species habitats and conservation areas, namely, in the southwestern states, and particularly in the Sonoran Desert Region. In Arizona, it is reported in the McDowell Mountains near Scottsdale (Plagens 2003), in Ironwood Forest National Monument (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum 2003), and throughout Pinacate Region of the Sonoran Desert (DeVender et al. 1997). This species is also reported from Calsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico (Beymer 1998). Finally, it has been documented in the Mojave Desert, California as locally common (Brooks and DeFalco 1999).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Medium/Low significance
Comments: The McDowell Mountain Park, Arizona was created more than two decades ago and at that time London rocket, Sisymbrium irio, and other exotic species covered much of the park. In this area, moist winters and springs are followed by drought which leaves the area susceptible to wildfire. The standing vegetative debris from exotic plants, including London rocket, leaves the land with a high fire load (Plagens 2003). The London rocket contributes to this altered fire regime. Where this species is common in places with periods of drought, it adds to the fire load on the landscape. In addition, this species is an annual and Brooks and DeFalco 1999 have identified how exotic annuals may affect an ecosystem. The effects they mention include: competition with native plants, alteration of soil characters and promotion of wildfire (Brooks and DeFalco 1999).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance
Comments: London rocket, Sisymbrium irio, is an herbaceous plant that's been described as a very common in the a portion of the Sonoran Desert, in Arizona (Van Devender et al. 1997). In another area in the Sonoran Desert, this species is described as common under shrubs (Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum 2003). Undoubtedly, this species can alter the herbaceous vegetation layer.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High/Low significance
Comments: This species is very common in certain portions of its range, namely in the Sonoran Desert in the Pinacate Region (Van Devender et al. 1997). It is also common in the McDowell Moutains, Arizona (Plagens 2003). London rocket has been reported to displace native species (Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum 2003), and certainly changes the species composition of existing ecological communities.

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Sisymbrium irio occurs in the Mojave Desert where the federally protected Desert Tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, resides. It is reported that London rocket invades areas that are Desert Tortoise habitat (Brooks and DeFalco 1999). Further, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1990) report that annual exotic species change the species composition of the native plant communities that make up the tortoises' habitat. Further, the tortoises rely on the native vegetation for nutritional needs (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1990), and these native plant species may be outcompeted by London rocket and other non-native annuals.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Sisymbrium irio, London rocket, may affect the rare and threatened Desert Tortoise, Gooherus agassizii. London rocket, is an annual non-native plant species occuring in the Mojave Desert, in the tortoise's habitat. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1990) reports that annual exotic plant species alter the plant communities where the tortoise inhabits such that native plants that the tortoise feeds on may be outcompeted, ultimately affecting the tortoise' nutritional intake.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: London rocket is known from much of the northeast and Ohio and Michigan, two states in the southeast, Florida and Georgia, and in the west from Texas west to California (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Low significance
Comments: This species has invaded native species habitats in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona (Van Devender et al. 1997, Plagens 2003), New Mexico (Beymer 1998) and Mojave Desert, California (Brooks and DeFalco 1999). This species doesn't appear to be problematic in all western states, including Utah where Welsh et al. 1993 reports it as a weed of disturbed places. Also, in Michigan Voss 1985 reports that this species is rarely found as a weed.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Medium/Low significance
Comments: London rocket occurs in a large portion of the northeast, as well as large areas throughout the western United States (from Texas west to California) (TNC 2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Sisymbrium irio is found in disturbed places, for example roadsides, livestock watering sites, and off highway staging areas (Brooks and DeFalco 1999), but also rangelands (Plagens 2003) and habitats in the Arizona Sonoran Desert subdivision, 'Arizona Upland' (Van Devender et al. 1997). This subdivision in the Arizona portion of the Sonoran Desert is the northeasternmost part of the desert and having "obviousfloristic affinities with more tropical communities to the south" (Van Devender et al. 1997). Rollins 1993 report this species mainly from distrubed sites including, fields, orchards, roadsides, waste places, rubbish heaps, and vacant lots. He mentions it from playas and open deserts (Rollins 1993).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Insignificant

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Little information about London rocket was found for the northeast. This mustard is problematic in the southwest and does appear to be spreading, as southwestern authors have referred to it as 'dominating the landscape' (SDCP 2002) and as 'very common' (Van Devender et al. 1997).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: This species has already spread into much of the west including California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. It is also present in many states in the northeast and two states in the southeast (Florida and Georgia) (Kartesz 1999). It is not clear if this species is capable of spreading into the midwest and southeast.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Unknown

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High/Low significance
Comments: This mustard species appears to be expanding in Arizona. In the Sonoran Desert this species is problematic in the Ironwood Forest National Monument (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum 2003), the Pinacate Region (Van Devender et al. 1997), and in desert in Pima Co., Arizona (SDCP 2002).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: This species usually invades disturbed places (Rollins 1993, Welsh et al. 1993, Voss 1985), however, does have the ability to invade open desert habitat and playas (Rollins 1993).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Unknown

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Low significance
Comments: This species produces many seeds which allows it to proliferate and spread (SDCP 2002).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Unknown

17. General Management Difficulty:Unknown

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Unknown

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Unknown

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Unknown
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. 2003. Biological Survey of Ironwood Forest National Monument, Exotic Plants Assessment. Tuscon, AZ. Online at: http://www.desertmuseum.org/programs.ifnm_exotics.html. Accessed on: April 2, 2004.

  • Beymer, R. 1998. The battle against weeds. In: D. L. Pate, editor. Canyons and Caves. A newsletter from the Natural Resource Offices, Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Issue no. 8. Online at: http://www.nps.gov/cave/pdfdocs/C&C8.pdf. Accessed on April 1, 2004.

  • Brooks, M. L. and L. DeFalco. 1999. Exotic Plant Species in Desert Tortoise habitat [paper abstract]. Twenty-fourth annual meeting and symposium of the desert tortoise council, March 5-8, 1999. Abstracts. Online at: http://www.deserttortoise.org/abstract.abstracts1999/sgabs3.html.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2010. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 7. Magnoliophyta: Salicaceae to Brassicaceae. Oxford University Press, New York. xxii + 797 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Plagens, M. J. 2003. McDowell Mountains - Scottsdale, Arizona. Online at: http://www.arizonensis.org/sonoran/places/mcdowell.html. Accessed on: April 5, 2004.

  • Rollins, R.C. 1993a. The Cruciferae of continental North America: Systematics of the mustard family from the Arctic to Panama. Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford, California. 976 pp.

  • Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP). 2002. An invasive species management program for Pima Co. [Arizona]. Online at: http://www.co.pima.az.us/cmo/sdcp/reports.html. Accessed: April 5, 2004.

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. Determination of Threatened Status for the Mojave Population of the Desert Tortoise. 12178-12191 pp.

  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. 2001. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.URL: http://www.ars-grin.gov/var/apache/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?6438. (Accessed 2004)

  • Van Devender, T. R., R. S. Felger, and A. Burquez M. 1997. Exotic plants in the Sonoran Desert region, Arizona and Sonora. California Exotic Pest Plant Council. 1997 Symposium Proceedings. Online at: http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/freeform/ceppc/documents/1997_Symposium_Proceedings1948.PDF. Accessed on: April 1, 2004.

  • Voss, E.G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicotyledons. Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 1212 pp.

  • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich, and L.C. Higgins (eds.) 1993. A Utah flora. 2nd edition. Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Utah. 986 pp.

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