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Annual Wall Rocket

Diplotaxis muralis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Brassicaceae (Cabbage)
Also in this family:
Alpine Pennycress, Alpine Rock-cress, American Wintercress, Austrian Yellowcress, Awlwort, Bastard Cabbage, Black Mustard, Bristol Rock-cress, Charlock, Common Scurvygrass, Common Whitlowgrass, Coralroot, Creeping Yellowcress, Cuckooflower, Dame's-violet, Danish Scurvygrass, Dittander, Early Wintercress, Eastern Rocket, English Scurvygrass, Evergreen Candytuft, False London Rocket, Field Pennycress, Field Pepperwort, Flixweed, Garden Arabis, Garden Candytuft, Garden Cress, Garden Radish, Garden Rocket, Garlic Mustard, Glabrous Whitlowgrass, Gold of Pleasure, Great Yellowcress, Greater Cuckooflower, Greater Periwinkle, Greater Swinecress, Hairy Bittercress, Hairy Rock-cress, Hairy Rocket, Hairy Whitlowgrass, Hedge Mustard, Hoary Cress, Hoary Mustard, Hoary Stock, Hoary Whitlowgrass, Honesty, Horseradish, Hutchinsia, Hybrid Watercress, Intermediate Periwinkle, Isle of Man Cabbage, Large Bittercress, Lesser Swinecress, London Rocket, Lundy Cabbage, Marsh Yellowcress, Mountain Scurvygrass, Narrow-fruited Watercress, Narrow-leaved Bittercress, Narrow-leaved Pepperwort, Northern Rock-cress, Northern Yellowcress, Oilseed Rape, Perennial Rocket, Perennial Wall Rocket, Perfoliate Pennycress, Pinnate Coralroot, Purple Rock-cress, Pyrenean Scurvygrass, Rock Whitlowgrass, Russian Rocket, Scottish Scurvygrass, Sea Kale, Sea Radish, Sea Rocket, Sea Stock, Shepherd's Cress, Shepherd's Purse, Small-flowered Wintercress, Smith's Pepperwort, Steppe Cabbage, Swede, Sweet Alyssum, Tall Rocket, Thale Cress, Tower Mustard, Treacle Mustard, Trefoil Cress, Turnip, Wall Whitlowgrass, Wallflower, Wallflower Cabbage, Warty Cabbage, Watercress, Wavy Bittercress, White Mustard, Wild Cabbage, Wild Candytuft, Wild Radish, Wild Turnip, Wintercress, Woad, Yellow Whitlowgrass
Life Cycle:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Cliffs, fields, gardens, roadsides, rocky places, walls, wasteland.

Yellow, 4 petals
Pale sulphur yellow flowers, 1 to 1.5cm in diameter. The petals are oval. 4 stamens. Large cream-coloured anthers. Sea Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum maritimus) is similar in appearance but has longer than wide petals. Pollinated by bees and flies.
A green cylindrical pod with a short beak, 2 to 4.5cm long. The pods become brown as they ripen. The yellowish-brown seeds are in two rows.
Long-stalked, oval-oblong leaves, mostly in a basal rosette. The stem is slightly woody at the base of the plant. The sparsely hairy leaves are toothed or lobed. The stems are hairy but the similar looking Perennial Wall Rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) has hairless stems. Annual.
The Annual Wall Rocket possesses a distinctive, pungent aroma. When the leaves are crushed or bruised, they release a peppery scent that is characteristic of this plant. The smell is often described as sharp and aromatic, contributing to the overall sensory experience when handling or using Annual Wall Rocket in culinary applications.
Other Names:
Stinkweed, Sylvestris, Wall Rocket.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Diplotaxis muralis, also known as wall rocket or sylvestris, is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is native to Europe and North Africa, and typically grows in a variety of habitats including walls, rocky places, and waste places. The plant is an annual herb that can grow up to 60cm tall, it has large, lobed leaves and yellow flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. It is considered a weed in some parts of the world due to its invasive nature and its ability to outcompete native plants. The leaves and young shoots are edible, they have a pungent and spicy flavor, and are used in salads, sandwiches and in some culinary dishes. The seeds are also used as a spice. It can be controlled by cultural practices such as hand weeding, mowing and the use of herbicides.

It's also known as wild arugula and it's used for its spicy taste in Mediterranean cuisine.


Annual Wall Rocket, scientifically known as Diplotaxis muralis, is a plant that is a member of the Brassicaceae family, which includes other well-known plants such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. It is a herbaceous annual plant that is native to Europe but can now be found in many parts of the world.

This plant is commonly found growing on walls, cracks, and crevices, hence the name Wall Rocket. It grows up to 60 cm in height and has a thin stem that is usually green or reddish-brown. The leaves of the Annual Wall Rocket are alternate, deeply lobed, and have a bright green color. The flowers are small and have four petals that are yellow in color. The plant blooms from late spring to early summer, producing a profusion of flowers that are attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Annual Wall Rocket is easy to grow and can be grown in a variety of soils, although it prefers well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients. It can tolerate dry conditions, making it an ideal plant for areas with hot summers. The plant can be propagated from seeds, which should be sown in late summer or early autumn. It is also a self-seeding plant, meaning that it will readily reseed itself and come back year after year.

In addition to its ornamental value, Annual Wall Rocket has been used for culinary purposes in many parts of the world. Its leaves have a pungent, peppery taste, similar to arugula, which makes them a popular ingredient in salads and sandwiches. The plant also contains high levels of vitamin C, iron, and other nutrients, making it a healthy addition to any diet.

The Annual Wall Rocket has also been used for medicinal purposes. It was traditionally used as a diuretic and was thought to have a cleansing effect on the body. It was also used to treat coughs and other respiratory ailments. While there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims, the plant is still used in herbal medicine today.

The Annual Wall Rocket, or Diplotaxis muralis, is a versatile and easy-to-grow plant that has both ornamental and culinary value. It can be grown in a variety of conditions and is an excellent choice for gardens, walls, and other outdoor spaces. With its beautiful yellow flowers and peppery leaves, it is a plant that is sure to impress and delight anyone who encounters it.

One of the unique features of the Annual Wall Rocket is its ability to adapt and thrive in challenging growing conditions. As mentioned earlier, it can grow in poor soil, and it can also withstand drought and extreme temperatures. This resilience makes it an ideal plant for urban environments where the growing conditions can be less than ideal.

Annual Wall Rocket is also an important plant for biodiversity. It provides a habitat and food source for pollinators and other insects, which are essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems. In addition, the plant is often used for erosion control and soil stabilization, particularly on steep slopes and rock faces.

Another interesting aspect of the Annual Wall Rocket is its cultural significance. In some parts of the world, it is considered a symbol of endurance and resilience, as it can survive and thrive in harsh conditions. It has also been used in traditional medicine, art, and literature, serving as a source of inspiration and creativity.

However, it's important to note that the Annual Wall Rocket can become invasive in some areas, particularly in North America, where it is not native. As with any plant, it's essential to check the local regulations and ensure that it's appropriate to grow in your area.

The Annual Wall Rocket, or Diplotaxis muralis, is a fascinating plant that offers both practical and aesthetic benefits. Whether you're looking to add some greenery to your garden or want to experiment with a new culinary ingredient, this plant is worth considering. With its adaptability, nutritional value, and cultural significance, the Annual Wall Rocket is a valuable addition to any landscape.

In addition to its uses in medicine, cuisine, and horticulture, the Annual Wall Rocket has also been the subject of scientific research. Researchers have studied the plant's genetic makeup, morphology, and ecological interactions to better understand its unique adaptations and potential applications.

For example, some studies have explored the plant's ability to produce glucosinolates, a group of compounds that have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Other studies have investigated the plant's potential as a bioindicator for soil pollution, as it is known to accumulate heavy metals and other contaminants in its tissues.

Furthermore, the Annual Wall Rocket has been shown to have allelopathic properties, meaning that it can release chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants. This ability has led some researchers to investigate the potential of the plant as a natural herbicide or as a source of new plant-based chemicals for agriculture.

The Annual Wall Rocket is a plant that continues to intrigue and inspire researchers, gardeners, and nature enthusiasts alike. Its adaptability, resilience, and usefulness make it a valuable addition to any landscape or ecosystem. Whether you're looking to explore its culinary uses, its medicinal properties, or its ecological interactions, the Annual Wall Rocket is a plant that offers many exciting possibilities.

One interesting aspect of the Annual Wall Rocket is its historical use in traditional medicine. For centuries, the plant was used as a diuretic and was believed to have cleansing and purifying effects on the body. It was also used to treat respiratory ailments, such as coughs and asthma.

In addition, the plant was believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic properties, and was used to relieve joint pain and other symptoms of inflammation. Some traditional medicinal practices also recommended using the plant to treat skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.

While there is limited scientific evidence to support these traditional uses, some studies have shown that the plant contains bioactive compounds that could have potential health benefits. For example, one study found that the plant's leaves contain high levels of antioxidants, which are known to have anti-inflammatory effects and could help protect against certain diseases.

Another study found that the plant contains compounds that have antimicrobial properties, suggesting that it could have potential as a natural antibacterial or antifungal agent. While more research is needed to fully understand the plant's potential uses in medicine, these studies provide an interesting starting point for further exploration.

Overall, the Annual Wall Rocket is a versatile and fascinating plant that offers many benefits for both humans and the environment. Whether you're interested in its ornamental value, its culinary uses, its potential health benefits, or its role in biodiversity, this plant is a valuable addition to any garden or outdoor space.

25 Annual Wall Rocket Facts

  1. Scientific Name: Diplotaxis muralis is the botanical name for Annual Wall Rocket.

  2. Native Habitat: Originally native to Southern Europe, Annual Wall Rocket has successfully naturalized in various regions worldwide.

  3. Adaptability: This resilient plant thrives in a variety of soil types and is well-suited for coastal environments.

  4. Edible Leaves: The young leaves of Annual Wall Rocket are edible and add a peppery flavor to salads.

  5. Culinary Uses: Widely used in Mediterranean cuisine, the leaves are often included in dishes for their unique taste.

  6. Blooming Period: Annual Wall Rocket produces small, vibrant yellow flowers during its blooming season.

  7. Seed Pods: The plant's slender seed pods contain seeds that can be harvested for future cultivation.

  8. Self-Seeding: Known for its self-seeding capabilities, Annual Wall Rocket can propagate easily in favorable conditions.

  9. Medicinal Properties: In traditional medicine, certain cultures believe Annual Wall Rocket possesses medicinal properties, including digestive benefits.

  10. Invasive Potential: While appreciated for its beauty and culinary uses, Annual Wall Rocket can become invasive in some regions.

  11. Quick Growth: This plant exhibits rapid growth, making it a hardy and resilient species.

  12. Drought Tolerance: Well-adapted to dry conditions, Annual Wall Rocket can survive with minimal water.

  13. Historical Significance: Used in ancient times for both culinary and medicinal purposes, Annual Wall Rocket has a rich historical background.

  14. Pollinator Attraction: The flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, contributing to local ecosystems.

  15. Container Gardening: Suitable for container gardening, Annual Wall Rocket can be cultivated in pots on balconies or patios.

  16. Cultural Symbolism: In some cultures, Annual Wall Rocket is associated with luck and prosperity.

  17. Herbaceous Annual: Despite its name, Annual Wall Rocket is classified as an annual or biennial herbaceous plant.

  18. Easy Propagation: Propagate Annual Wall Rocket by collecting seeds or through stem cuttings, making it accessible for home gardeners.

  19. Versatile Ornamental Plant: Besides its culinary uses, Annual Wall Rocket is often cultivated for its ornamental value in gardens.

  20. Botanical Family: Belonging to the Brassicaceae family, Annual Wall Rocket is related to other well-known plants like mustard and cabbage.

  21. Distinctive Flavor: The peppery taste of Annual Wall Rocket is reminiscent of arugula, adding a distinctive flavor to dishes.

  22. Seasonal Growth: Typically grown during the cooler seasons, Annual Wall Rocket can be sown in spring or fall for optimal results.

  23. Companion Planting: Gardeners often use Annual Wall Rocket as a companion plant to deter certain pests and attract beneficial insects.

  24. Erosion Control: With its quick growth and spreading habit, Annual Wall Rocket is sometimes employed for erosion control in landscaping.

  25. Cultural Diversity: Appreciated in various cuisines globally, Annual Wall Rocket reflects the diversity of plant usage in different culinary traditions.


Video 1: Annual Wall Rocket filmed at Lytham St. Anne's, Lancashire on the 12th June 2023.


Video 2: Annual Wall Rocket filmed at Ainsdale in Lancashire on the 10th September 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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