Often several feet high. Stem. - Branching. Leaves. - The lower with a large terminal lobe and a few small lateral ones. Flowers. - Yellow, rather small, growing in a raceme. Pods. - Smooth, erect, appressed, about half an inch long.
Many are familiar with the appearance of this plant who are ignorant of its name. The pale yellow flowers spring from the waste places along the roadside and border the dry fields throughout the summer. The tall spreading branches recall the biblical description: "It groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it."
This plant is extensively cultivated in Europe, its ground seeds forming the well-known condiment. The ancients used it for medicinal purposes. It has come across the water to us, and is a troublesome weed in many parts of the country.