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eruca vesicaria - (Mill.)Thell.

Common Name Rocket
Family Brassicaceae or Cruciferae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Waste ground, fields, olive groves, stony hills, tracksides etc[89].
Range Europe - Mediterranean. A frequent casual in Britain, occasionally becoming established for a while.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
eruca vesicaria Rocket

eruca vesicaria Rocket
SDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 192.


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
eruca vesicaria is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


E. sativa. Mill. E. vesicaria. Brassica eruca.


Edible Uses

Young leaves - raw or cooked[2, 27, 33, 34, 74]. A distinct strongly spicy flavour[183], the taste is best from fast, well-grown plants[200]. A few leaves added to a salad are acceptable though the flavour is too strong for many tastes[K]. Some people really like these leaves though most are not very keen[K]. Older leaves that have become too hot to eat on their own can be pureed and added to soups etc[183]. In the milder areas of Britain it is possible to produce edible leaves all year round from successional sowings, especially if the winter crop is given some protection[K]. Flowers - raw[52}. A similar taste to the leaves, they make a nice garnish on the salad bowl[183]. The seed yields a semi-drying oil[1, 2, 74] which is edible if stored 6 months[61, 114] and is a substitute for rapeseed oil[34]. It contains 32% fat, 27% protein[114]. It is known as 'jamba oil'[183]. A mustard is obtained from the seed[46, 74, 183], the strong flavour comes from an essential oil that is contained within the oil of the seed[114]. The pungency of mustard develops when cold water is added to the ground-up seed - an enzyme (myrosin) acts on a glycoside (sinigrin) to produce a sulphur compound. The reaction takes 10 - 15 minutes. Mixing with hot water or vinegar, or adding salt, inhibits the enzyme and produces a mild bitter mustard[238].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Rocket was at one time used medicinally, though it is now used only as a salad herb[238]. The leaves are antiscorbutic, diuretic, stimulant and stomachic[4, 46]. The seed is rubefacient and stimulant[4, 46]. The powdered seed possesses antibacterial activity, but no alkaloids have been isolated[240]. The oil from the seed is said to have aphrodisiac properties[264].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

The seed yields a semi-drying oil which is a substitute for rapeseed oil[46]. It can also be used for lighting, burning with very little soot[114].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A very easily grown and fast-maturing plant, it succeeds in most soils and conditions, though it prefers some shade in summer[52]. Once established, plants are quite drought resistant[160]. Rocket is occasionally cultivated for its edible leaves and flowers, it can be ready for harvest within 40 days of sowing the seed[1, 46, 89, 264], there are some named varieties. 'Rocket Improved' is less prone to bolting, though it still grows best in cooler weather[183]. Plants usually self-sow freely if the ground is disturbed in some way, such as by hoeing[K]. This species is normally untroubled by pests or diseases[160].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - sow outdoors in spring in situ. Germination is usually very quick and free. In order to obtain a continuous supply of edible leaves, successional sowings can be made every few weeks until mid August[33]. A late summer/early autumn sowing can provide leaves in winter, though the plants might require some protection in very cold winters[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Bunias erucagoCorn Rocket, Crested wartycabbageAnnual/Biennial0.6 6-9  LMHNM30 
Eruca vesicaria sativaRocketAnnual0.6 6-9 FLMHSNDM412
Erucaria hispanica Annual/Biennial0.0 -  LMHSNM20 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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