Nasturtium officinale - Watercress

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Liliopsida - Order: Brassicales - Family: Brassicaceae

Watercress

Identification

The white flowers, which are between 4 and 6mm across, have four petals.

Habitat

This well-known salad plant, a member of the Cabbage family, grows in shallow water and is particularly abundant in lime-rich ditches and small streams.

Distribution

Watercress is widespread throughout Britain and Ireland; it is native to Europe and Asia.

Blooming times

In Britain and Ireland, Watercress blooms from May right through the summer and into October.

Watercress, River Meon

Uses

Although this is an edible plant, it is unwise to eat Watercress from streams running through sheep country or anywhere that the water is stagnant; liver flukes, tiny parasites that can attack human beings as well as farm animals, are likely to inhabit such places.

Etymology

As its common name suggests, Watercress is an aquatic plant. The specific epithet officinale indicates hat this plant was considered to have medicinal properties.

The plants shown on this page were photographed on the River Meon, Hampshire, in June.


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