Herbs > Watercress Herb

Information on, uses of and how to grow watercress:

Name
Nasturtium officinale.

Family
Cruciferae.

History
Historically a medicinal plant used to ward off scurvy. We now know of course that it is very high in vitamin C.

Growing pattern
Perennial.

Seeds
Buy Herb Seeds (Organic and Non-Organic) from The Green Chronicle (Pay in $US, £, Euro).
Herbs, Seasonings and Spices - Buy Watercress from Mountain Rose Herbs ($US).

How to grow
Sow the seeds in boxes in early summer or autumn. Plant out seedlings 15cm apart. It can also be grown by cuttings in early autumn or spring. Constant cutting will promote growth and prevent flowering.

Soil condition/position
Rich sandy soil 7.5cm deep in water 10cm deep. It can be grown in an ordinary garden i.e. not in running water, but this may not be very successful.

Appearance
Small shiny rounded leaves on a fleshy stem. Grow to a height of about 30cm. Tiny white flowers in the summer develop into long curved seed pods. The plant has a peppery flavour.

Uses
Watercress is widely used as a salad vegetable. Infusions of young shoots are supposed to be good for arthritis, digestive problems and congested lungs. This remedy should not be taken for more than one week.

If you have a question about Watercress, have a look at our reader's question page on Watercress.