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Fool's Watercress

Apium nodiflorum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Ditches, marshes, mud, ponds, swamps, water, waterside, wetland.

White, 5 petals
Stalked umbels, 2 or 3cm across. Usually without bracts.
Egg-shaped and ridged. Up to 2mm across.
A sprawling hairless plant with shiny, bright green 1-pinnate leaves. The oval leaflets of Fool's Watercress are shallowly toothed. This plant is similar in appearance to Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) but the leaves of Watercress are untoothed and the end lobe is much larger. The stems are smooth and hollow. Perennial.
The smell of Fool's Watercress is perhaps the best way to distinguish it from Watercress (Nasturtium officinale). Fool's Watercress smells of raw carrot. Watercress smells of cress.
Other Names:
Lebanese Cress, Marshwort, Poor Man's Watercress, Procumbent Apium.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Apium nodiflorum, also known as fool's watercress, is a perennial herb from the Apiaceae family. It is native to Europe, and is commonly found in ditches or streams, as well as fresh and brackish waters. It is an hydrophytic plant which forms dense submerged populations occurring along streams and rivers. The plant is easily distinguished from true watercress by its smell, which is reminiscent of raw carrot, as opposed to the smell of cress associated with true watercress. Apium nodiflorum has been studied for its potential to help with osteoporosis, pain thresholds, and carrageenan-induced inflammation.


Fool's Watercress: An Overview of Apium nodiflorum

Fool's watercress, also known as Apium nodiflorum, is a species of aquatic plant belonging to the family Apiaceae. It is a fast-growing plant that is native to Europe and parts of Asia, but it has now been introduced to many other parts of the world. Fool's watercress can be found growing in shallow waters and damp soils, and it is often used as a popular ingredient in salads, soups, and stews.

Identifying Fool's Watercress

Fool's watercress is a herbaceous plant that can grow up to 40 cm tall. It has a stem that is often reddish in color and branches out near the base. The leaves of the plant are pinnately divided and are bright green in color. The plant produces small white flowers that bloom in umbel-like clusters, which are typical of plants in the Apiaceae family.

Culinary and Medicinal Uses of Fool's Watercress

Fool's watercress is highly valued for its culinary uses, and it is often used in salads and as a garnish for soups and stews. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium, and iron. It is also a good source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which makes it a great ingredient for boosting overall health.

In traditional medicine, fool's watercress has been used to treat various ailments, including digestive problems, joint pain, and skin conditions. It is believed to have diuretic, diaphoretic, and expectorant properties, which makes it an effective remedy for a range of health problems.

Growing Fool's Watercress

Fool's watercress is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soils and water conditions. It can be grown in pots, as well as in natural habitats like streams, rivers, and ponds. When grown in pots, the plant should be kept in moist soil, and it should be fertilized regularly to ensure optimal growth.

In conclusion, fool's watercress is a versatile plant that has a range of culinary and medicinal uses. Whether you're looking to add a burst of flavor to your meals or want to take advantage of its health benefits, fool's watercress is definitely worth considering.

More Information

Apium nodiflorum, also known as fool's watercress, is a species of plant belonging to the Apiaceae family. This plant is commonly found in wet areas and is known for its delicate white flowers and lance-shaped leaves.

Fool's watercress is a highly adaptable plant and can grow in a variety of conditions, including slow-moving streams, ponds, and ditches. This plant is a popular choice for ornamental purposes due to its delicate flowers and attractive leaves. In addition, Apium nodiflorum is often used as a food source for livestock and can be used to provide shelter for wildlife.

This plant is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. The leaves and stems of Apium nodiflorum are believed to have diuretic, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory effects. It has also been used to treat various ailments such as respiratory problems, digestive issues, and skin diseases.

Despite its benefits, fool's watercress can also be invasive and aggressive, especially in areas where it is not native. This plant can quickly spread and outcompete native species, leading to a loss of biodiversity.

In conclusion, Apium nodiflorum is a versatile and attractive plant with a rich history of medicinal uses. However, it is important to be cautious when planting this species, as it can become invasive and disruptive to native ecosystems. Careful management is necessary to ensure that fool's watercress does not cause any harm to the environment.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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