Latin name: Nasturtium microphyllum
Synonyms: Rorippa microphylla
Medicinal use of Watercress:Antiscorbutic, diuretic, expectorant, purgative, stimulant, stomachic. Use with caution.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Stream margins, ditches, flushes etc with moving water, usually in chalk or limestone areas.
Edible parts of Watercress:Leaves - raw or cooked. Exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron. The leaves are mainly used as a garnish or as an addition to salads, the flavour is strong with a characteristic hotness. The seed can be sprouted and eaten in salads. A hot flavour. 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.
Propagation of the herb:Seed - sow spring in a pot emmersed to half its depth in water. Germination should take place within a couple of weeks. Prick out seedlings into individual pots whilst they are still small and increase the depth of water gradually until they are submerged. Plant out into a pond in the summer. Cuttings can be taken at any time in the growing season. Virtually any part of the plant, including a single leaf, will form roots if detached from the parent plant. Just put it in a container of water until the roots are well formed and then plant out in shallow water.
Cultivation of Watercress:Stream margins, ditches, flushes etc with moving water, usually in chalk or limestone areas.
Known hazards of Nasturtium microphyllum:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.