Within Jesus Parable of the Mustard seed lies a bit of an enigma. When describing the plant which Mustard was he referencing? Was it Salvidora or Sinapis? Salvadora persica is indeed a bush, shrub or tree native to the Mideast. It is commonly known as the Mustard tree, toothbrush tree, or salt bush. It is an evergreen that is profusely branched and has a fleshy,spherical Fruit
Salvidora persica is widespread. It is found in thorn shrubs, desert floodplains, river and stream bank vegetation, and grassy savannahs. The evergreen Prefers areas where water is readily available, but is also able to tolerate a very dry environment . It is very salt tolerant, it can grow on coastal regions and inland saline soils. The plant readily germinates from seeds and the Seeds are dispersed by animals and man. It is generally a slow growing tree
Sinapis is a rapidly growing weed with a pungent fiery taste. It is wild, extremely tough to get rid of as its seed reproduces quickly.It should not be planted in a garden because it tends to take over where it is not wanted.Sinapis easily can take over an entire field. The birds it attracts would also make planting anything else difficult. It could be considered an enemy of the farmer.
So which plant was Jesus talking about, the hearty evergreen or the obnoxious weed?Salvidora certainly seems to make the most sense: it is a tree that can grow somewhat large from a smallish seed and is tolerant, though prefers a comfortable environment(it can grow in a desert but prefers the side of a stream). It also is evergreen,always living. Synapis,, though not tall it can cover the largest field and it spreads like wildfire. It is nearly indestructible and the birds it attracts hinder the seeds of almost anything else from taking hold. While man might have different opinions on the popularity of these two plants, they both are part of Gods kingdom. Which plant was Jesus talking about?