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 Eruca sativa subsp. var.  Rocket, Arugula
Eruca sativa 1 IP0206101.jpg
Habit: herbaceous
Height: to
Width: to
Height: 20 cm to 100 cm
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Features: edible
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USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Brassicaceae > Eruca sativa var. ,

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Eruca sativa (syn. E. vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell., Brassica eruca L.), also known as rocket or arugula, is an edible annual plant. It is a species of Eruca native to the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal east to Lebanon and Turkey.[1][2] It is closely related to Eruca vesicaria and included by some botanists in that either as a subspecies E. vesicaria subsp. sativa[3] or not distinguished at all;[4] it can be distinguished from E. vesicaria by its early deciduous sepals.[3]

It is an annual plant growing to 20–100 cm tall. The leaves are deeply pinnately lobed with four to ten small lateral lobes and a large terminal lobe. The flowers are 2–4 cm diameter, arranged in a corymb, with the typical Brassicaceae flower structure; the petals are creamy white with purple veins, and the stamens yellow; the sepals are shed soon after the flower opens. The fruit is a siliqua (pod) 12–35 mm long with an apical beak, and containing several seeds (which are edible). The species has a chromosome number of 2n = 22.[2][3][5]

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Roquette, or Rocket-Salad (Eruca sativa, Mill.), a low-growing hardy annual from southern Europe, whose leaves resemble those of radish and turnip, is much used by the French as a spring and autumn salad and pot-herb. The flavor of the young, tender leaves, which are the parts used, bears a strong resemblance to that of horse-radish. In America it is but little grown because there are milder-flavored plants that serve the same purpose. See Eruca.

The first sowing may be made in early spring, the seed being dropped thinly in shallow drills a foot apart, with successional plantings each second or third week through the season. The soil must be rich and well supplied with moisture, else the leaves will probably be tough and acrid. Inter-culture is the same as for spinach, lettuce, and similar crops. Frequent watering and tillage in hot dry weather to insure rapid vigorous growth should result in succulent mild-flavored leaves. In summer the plants run rapidly to seed; in spring and autumn they will produce abundantly after being cut. The pale citron-yellow flowers emit a perfume resembling that of orange blossoms.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


It typically grows on dry, disturbed ground.

It is used as a leaf vegetable, which looks like a longer leaved and open lettuce. It is rich in vitamin C and potassium[6]. It is frequently cultivated, although domestication cannot be considered complete. It has been grown in the Mediterranean area since Roman times, and is considered an aphrodisiac. Before the 1990s it was usually collected in the wild and was not cultivated on a large scale or researched scientifically. In addition to the leaves, the flowers (often used in salads as an edible garnish), young seed pods and mature seeds are all edible. It has a rich, peppery taste, and has an exceptionally strong flavour for a leafy green.

It is also locally naturalised away from its native range in temperate regions around the world, including northern Europe and North America.[2][7] In India, the mature seeds are known as Gargeer.


Pests and diseases




  1. Med-Checklist: Eruca sativa
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Flora of NW Europe: Eruca vesicaria
  4. Flora Europaea: Eruca
  5. Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  6., Arugula, Raw
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named usda

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