The mustard flower is one of the more elusive blossoms that you will come across. This is due largely to the fact that these plants are highly edible, and are often harvested before the flowers themselves can bloom. A member of the Brassicaceae family, the mustard flower is closely related to cabbage, turnips, and even bok choy. Mustard flowers tend to grow abundantly in mid-spring. If left unattended these plants can grow wildly, can be invasive, and are frequently mistaken for weeds. Despite that fact, these tiny flowers are thought by many to be quite beautiful. They can be seen in a mild white, or deep yellow shade and are considered to be one of the few easily identifiable blossoms around. The mustard flower almost invariably has exactly four petals and six stamens – two of which are shorter than the remaining four – on each flower.
In Japan, the mustard flower is celebrated as a simple symbol of the beginning of spring. It is also planted in the fields of Yokohama and crafted into large mazes. In the United States, mustard blossoms often grow wild. One piece of historic trivia indicates that this is due to Spanish soldiers marking their trail throughout the country by scattering the seeds of this particular flower. In Napa Valley a similar story is told of missionaries creating a trail of seeds between Missions so that when the winter ended and the mustard flower began to bloom, they could trace their way back to where they came from. Despite their interesting appearance and fascinating history, mustard flowers are, of course, best known for its edible qualities. In Roman times, mustard flowers were considered an aphrodisiac, and were frequently mixed into love potions. Today, however, the seeds of this flower are mostly crushed and mixed with vinegar to create the spicy, fragrant condiment used in a variety of dishes.
Mustard flowers can make for a very unique gift. These small, pretty flowers are often thought to be a symbol of spring and abundance, and thus would make a great gift for someone born during the spring months, or someone starting a family around this time. The mustard seed is also thought to have a great religious significance, as it is a representation that even the smallest amount of faith can do great things so long as it is placed in the hands of a mighty God.