Like most US species in this genus, sisymbrium orientale
is naturalized rather than native, originating in Eurasia and North Africa, and found mostly in fields and other areas of disturbed ground. Basal leaves are lobed, with up to five pairs of lateral lobes and a much longer terminal lobe, while upper stem lobes have just one pair of side lobes, just above the attachment point. Leaf margins and the lower leaf midvein are sparsely short-hairy, as are the lower portion of the stems; upper stems are glabrous.
The yellowish-green sepals also have a sparse hair covering, while the clawed yellow petals are hairless, and about twice as long as the sepals, up to 0.4 inches. Fruits are narrow, linear cylindrical pods, up to 4 inches long, attached by short pedicels of equal thickness. Fruits have a sparse hair covering towards the base, and they are ascending, held at about a 45 degree angle to the stem.