PLANT PROFILE

 

NAME: Watercress

LATIN NAME / FAMILY:  Nasturtium officinale / Brassicaceae or Cruciferae

OTHER COMMON NAME(S): 

CONDITIONS:  sun/shade, along small streams
 

PARTS:

EDIBLE cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

TASTE

RAW/COOK

SEASON

All

 

 

 

 

Shoots

 

 

 

 

Leaves

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

hot/mustard

RAW/COOK

Spring-Fall

Buds/Flowers

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

hot/mustard

RAW/COOK

Spring

Fruits

 

 

 

 

Roots

       

Seeds

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

hot/mustard

RAW/COOK

Summer

Nuts

 

 

 

 

Pods

 

 

 

 

Stalk/Stem

 

 

 

 

Bark

 

 

 

 

 

PORTION: small-medium

 

COMMENT:  Best time to harvest is in the Spring. Known as Spring tonic.  “The seed can be sprouted and eaten in salad. The seed is ground into a powder and used as a mustard. 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 but bitter mustard.” (1) “This should not be confused with the profoundly different and unrelated group of plants with the common name of nasturtium, within the genus Tropaeolum.”(3)

 

CAUTION: “Any plants growing in water that drains from fields where animals, particularly sheep, graze should not be used raw. This is due to the risk of it being infested with the liver fluke parasite. Cooking the leaves, however, will destroy any parasites and render the plant perfectly safe to eat. May inhibit the metabolism of paracetamol.” (1)  As with any hot or spicy food, eat in moderation. 

 

NUTRITION/MEDICINAL: The leaves are exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron(1)

Powerhouse vegetable - https://draxe.com/watercress/

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-346/watercress

 

LOOK-A-LIKES:  Other species in the mustard/cress family

 

POISONOUS LOOK-A-LIKES: 

 

OTHER USES: Hair;  Miscellany. The juice of the plant is a nicotine solvent and is used as such on strong tobaccos (1)

 

SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):

  1. https://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Nasturtium+officinale
  2. http://www.eattheweeds.com/?s=watercress
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watercress
  4. http://www.ediblewildfood.com/watercress.aspx  (good photos)