Eruca vesicacaria

Synon. Eruca sativa

Wild rocket                                                                                                                 Ρόκα

Brassicaceae - cabbage family                                                                             Dicot.


Growing in isolation or sometimes in large colonies, wild Eruca vesicaria, rocket, with its peppery salad leaves and has been collected from the wild or grown in gardens since ancient times. In spring it can often be found in the field next to the cemetery in large numbers, perhaps it has naturalised from seeds produced by flowers once sown there.

The flowers are similar to wild radish (Raphanus raphinastrum) but can  be differentiated by the leaves, which have narrower segments and the calyx of the flower which is fuller and has been described as bladder-like. The flowers can be pale yellow as well as white. The plant is sometimes referred to as the caterpillar plant, the reason for this is uncertain as they are not particularly favoured by caterpillars, perhaps they are too bitter, but the leaves often have holes, nibbled by flee beetles.

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eruca - Latin for caterpillar

vesicaria - from Latin for bladder

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