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Nasturtium officinale

Nasturtium officinale

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids II
Ordo: Brassicales

Familia: Brassicaceae
Tribus: Cardamineae
Genus: Nasturtium
Species: Nasturtium officinale

Nasturtium officinale W.T.Aiton

Baeumerta nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) P. Gaertn., B. Mey. & Scherb. ex Hayek
Cardamine fontana Lam.
Cardamine nasturtium (L.) Moench
Cardamine nasturtium Kuntze
Dictyosperma olgae Regel & Schmalh.
Nasturtium aquaticum Wahlenb.
Nasturtium fontanum (Lam.) Asch.
Nasturtium nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) H. Karst.
Nasturtium officinale subsp. rotundifolium A.P. Khokhr.
Nasturtium siifolium Rchb.
Radicula nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) Britten & Rendle
Rorippa nasturtium (L.) Beck
Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) Hayek
Rorippa officinalis (R. Br.) P. Royen
Sisymbrium nasturtium-aquaticum L.


Aiton, W.T. 1812. Hortus Kew. ed. 2, 4:110.


Koch, M.A. et al. 2019. Nasturtium officinale in BrassiBase Tools and biological resources to study characters and traits in the Brassicaceae. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 May 29.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Nasturtium officinale. Published online. Accessed: May 29 2019.
The Plant List 2013. Nasturtium officinale in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 May 29. 2019. Nasturtium officinale. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 May 29.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Nasturtium officinale in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 09-Oct-10.

Vernacular names
aragonés: Berro
العربية: جرجير الماء
azərbaycanca: Adi acıqıjı
català: Creixen, Créixens
čeština: potočnice lékařská
dansk: Tykskulpet Brøndkarse
Deutsch: Echte Brunnenkresse, Gemeine Brunnenkresse, Brunnenkresse, Bachkresse
Ελληνικά: Νεροκάρδαμο

English: watercress
Esperanto: Akvokreso
español: berro de agua, mastuerzo de agua
eesti: Ürt-allikkerss
euskara: Iturri-belar, Ur-berro
فارسی: آب‌تره, شاهی آبی, اب‌تره, آب تره, علف چشمه, اب تره, بولاغ اوتی
suomi: Isovesikrassi
français: cresson de fontaine, cresson des fontaines, cresson officinal
Gaeilge: Biolar uisce
Gàidhlig: Biolar
galego: Agrón
Gaelg: Burley
עברית: גרגיר הנחלים, גרגר הנחלים
hrvatski: Dragušac
hornjoserbsce: lěkarska ropucha, Krěz
Kreyòl ayisyen: Kreson frans
magyar: Orvosi vízitorma
Bahasa, Indonesia: Selada air
Ido: Kreso
íslenska: Vætukarsi
日本語: オランダガラシ, ミズガラシ, クレソン
ქართული: წყლის წიწმატი
kurdî: Tûzik
lietuvių: Paprastasis rėžiukas
Malagasy: Anandrano
македонски: поточарка
norsk bokmål: Brønnkarse
नेपाली: सिमसाग
Nederlands: Witte waterkers
polski: rukiew wodna
Runa Simi: Ch'inkil
română: Năsturel
русский: жеруха обыкновенная, жеруха лекарственная, Водяной кресс, жеруха аптечная, кресс водяной
Scots: Kerse
slovenčina: potočnica lekárska
slovenščina: Navadna vodna kreša
svenska: Källfräne, Vattenkrasse, Källkrasse
Türkçe: Su teresi
українська: Настурція лікарська
Tiếng Việt: Cải xoong
中文(简体): 西洋菜
中文(繁體): 西洋菜
中文(臺灣): 西洋菜
中文: 西洋菜, 水芥, 水田芥, 水甕菜, 水田芥菜, 水蔊菜, 豆瓣菜, 水芹菜

Watercress or yellowcress (Nasturtium officinale) is a species of aquatic flowering plant in the cabbage family Brassicaceae.

Watercress is a rapidly growing, perennial plant native to Europe and Asia. It is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans. Watercress and many of its relatives, such as garden cress, mustard, radish, and wasabi, are noteworthy for their piquant flavors.

The hollow stems of watercress float in water. The leaf structure is pinnately compound. Small, white, and green flowers are produced in clusters and are frequently visited by insects, especially hoverflies, such as Eristalis flies.[2]

Watercress is listed in some sources as belonging to the genus Rorippa, although molecular evidence shows those aquatic species with hollow stems are more closely related to Cardamine than Rorippa.[3] Despite the Latin name, watercress is not particularly closely related to the flowers popularly known as nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus). T. majus belongs to the family Tropaeolaceae, a sister taxon to the Brassicaceae within the order Brassicales.

In some regions, watercress is regarded as a weed,[4] in other regions as an aquatic vegetable or herb. Watercress has been grown in many locations around the world.[5]

In the United Kingdom, watercress was first commercially cultivated in 1808 by the horticulturist William Bradbery, along the River Ebbsfleet in Kent. Watercress is now grown in a number of counties of the United Kingdom, most notably Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, and Hertfordshire. The town of Alresford, near Winchester, is considered to be the nation's watercress capital.[6] It holds a Watercress Festival that brings in more than 15,000 visitors every year and a preserved steam railway line has been named after the local crop. In recent years,[when?] watercress has become more widely available in the UK, at least in the southeast. Packages of watercress are stocked in some supermarkets and it may be available fresh, by the bunch, at farmers' markets and greengrocers.

Watercress leaves, stems, and fruit can be eaten raw.[7]

Ancient Romans thought eating it would cure mental illness.[8] Twelfth-century mystic Hildegard of Bingen thought eating it steamed and drinking the water would cure jaundice or fever.[8] Watercress was eaten by Native Americans.[9] Some Native Americans used it to treat kidney illnesses and constipation, and it was thought by some to be an aphrodisiac.[8] Early African Americans used the plant as an abortifacient; it was believed to cause sterility as well.[8]
Watercress, rawNutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 46 kJ (11 kcal)

1.29 g
Sugars 0.2 g
Dietary fiber 0.5 g

0.1 g

2.3 g
Vitamins Quantity
Vitamin A equiv.
lutein zeaxanthin

160 μg
1914 μg
5767 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.09 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.12 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.31 mg
Vitamin B6
0.129 mg
Folate (B9)
9 μg
Vitamin C
43 mg
Vitamin E
1 mg
Vitamin K
250 μg
Minerals Quantity
120 mg
0.2 mg
21 mg
0.244 mg
60 mg
330 mg
41 mg
Other constituents Quantity
Water 95 g
Full Link to USDA Database entry

μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
IU = International units

†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central

The new tips of watercress leaves can be eaten raw or cooked,[10] although caution should be used when collecting these in the wild because of parasites such as giardia.[11] Watercress is 95% water and has low contents of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and dietary fiber. A 100-gram serving of raw watercress provides 11 calories, is particularly rich in vitamin K (238% of the Daily Value, DV), and contains significant amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, and manganese (table).
Phytochemicals and cooking

As a cruciferous vegetable, watercress contains isothiocyanates that are partly destroyed by boiling, while the content of carotenoids is slightly increased. Steaming or microwave cooking retains these phytochemicals.[12]
Watercress beds in Warnford, Hampshire, England

Cultivation of watercress is practical on both a large-scale and a garden-scale. Being semi-aquatic, watercress is well-suited to hydroponic cultivation, thriving best in water that is slightly alkaline. It is frequently produced around the headwaters of chalk streams. In many local markets, the demand for hydroponically grown watercress exceeds supply, partly because cress leaves are unsuitable for distribution in dried form, and can only be stored fresh for a short period.

Watercress can be sold in supermarkets in sealed plastic bags, containing a little moisture and lightly pressurised to prevent crushing of contents. This packaging method has allowed national availability with a once-purchased storage life of one to two days in chilled or refrigerated storage.

Also sold as sprouts, the edible shoots are harvested days after germination. If unharvested, watercress can grow to a height of 50 to 120 centimetres (1+1/2–4 ft). Like many plants in this family, the foliage of watercress becomes bitter when the plants begin producing flowers.

Watercress crops grown in the presence of manure can be an environment for parasites such as the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica.[13] By inhibiting the cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP2E1, compounds in watercress may alter drug metabolism in individuals on certain medications such as chlorzoxazone.[14]
See also

Fool's watercress — Apium nodiflorum
Garden cress
List of vegetables
Watercress soup


The Plant List, Nasturtium officinale R.Br.
Van Der Kooi, C. J.; Pen, I.; Staal, M.; Stavenga, D. G.; Elzenga, J. T. M. (2016). "Competition for pollinators and intra-communal spectral dissimilarity of flowers". Plant Biology. 18 (1): 56–62. doi:10.1111/plb.12328. PMID 25754608.
Al-Shehbaz, Ihsan A.; Price, Robert A. (1998). "Delimitation of the Genus Nasturtium (Brassicaceae)". Novon. 8 (2): 124–6. doi:10.2307/3391978. JSTOR 3391978.
"Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board". Retrieved 2021-05-04.
"Watercress". Retrieved 2021-05-04.
Peters, Rick (30 March 2010). "Seasonal food: watercress". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
Benoliel, Doug (2011). Northwest Foraging: The Classic Guide to Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwest (Rev. and updated ed.). Seattle, WA: Skipstone. p. 161. ISBN 978-1-59485-366-1. OCLC 668195076.
Lyle, Katie Letcher (2010) [2004]. The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits, and Nuts: How to Find, Identify, and Cook Them (2nd ed.). Guilford, CN: FalconGuides. pp. 34–35. ISBN 978-1-59921-887-8. OCLC 560560606.
Nyerges, Christopher (2017). Foraging Washington: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Foods. Guilford, CT: Falcon Guides. ISBN 978-1-4930-2534-3. OCLC 965922681.
Nyerges, Christopher (2016). Foraging Wild Edible Plants of North America: More than 150 Delicious Recipes Using Nature's Edibles. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4930-1499-6.
Blackwell, Laird R. (2006). Great Basin Wildflowers: A Guide to Common Wildflowers of the High Deserts of Nevada, Utah, and Oregon (A Falcon Guide) (1st ed.). Guilford, Conn.: Morris Book Publishing, LLC. p. 196. ISBN 0-7627-3805-7. OCLC 61461560.
Giallourou, Natasa; Oruna-Concha, Maria Jose; Harbourne, Niamh (1 November 2016). "Effects of domestic processing methods on the phytochemical content of watercress (Nasturtium officinale)" (PDF). Food Chemistry. 212: 411–419. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.05.190. ISSN 0308-8146. PMID 27374550.
"DPDx - Laboratory Identification of Parasitic Diseases of Public Health Concern: Fascioliasis". US Centers for Disease Control. 29 November 2013.
Leclercq, Isabelle; Desager, Jean-Pierre; Horsmans, Yves (1998). "Inhibition of chlorzoxazone metabolism, a clinical probe for CYP2E1, by a single ingestion of watercress". Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 64 (2): 144–9. doi:10.1016/S0009-9236(98)90147-3. PMID 9728894. S2CID 43863786.

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