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Eastern Rocket

Sisymbrium orientale

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Brassicaceae (Cabbage)
Also in this family:
Alpine Pennycress, Alpine Rock-cress, American Wintercress, Annual Wall Rocket, 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, 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:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Fields, roadsides, towns, wasteland.

Yellow, 4 petals
Clusters of yellow flowers. Each flower measures between 6 and 8mm across. The petals are double the length of the sepals.
Long pods, 4 to 12cm in length. Hairy when young.
The lower leaves are pinnate with narrow lobes. The upper leaves are hardly lobed at all.
Other Names:
Indian Hedgemustard, Syrian Rocket.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Sisymbrium orientale, also known as Eastern rocket or Syrian rocket, is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, and typically grows in a variety of habitats including roadsides, fields, and waste places. The plant is an annual herb that can grow up to 1.5m tall, it has large, lobed leaves and yellow flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. It is considered a weed in many 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.


Eastern Rocket, also known as Sisymbrium orientale, is a flowering plant that belongs to the family Brassicaceae. It is native to Central and Western Asia, but has also been introduced to other parts of the world, including Europe, North America, and Australia. The plant is widely used for its medicinal and culinary properties, and has a rich history of use dating back centuries.

The Eastern Rocket plant can grow up to 50-150 cm tall and has stems that are typically smooth or slightly hairy. The leaves of the plant are oblong or lance-shaped, with finely toothed margins. The flowers of the plant are small, yellow and arranged in clusters at the ends of the stems. The plant typically blooms in the summer, from June to September, and produces small, slender seed pods that contain numerous seeds.

In traditional medicine, Eastern Rocket has been used for its various therapeutic properties. It is known to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, which make it effective in treating a range of health conditions. For example, it has been used to treat asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory issues, as well as digestive problems such as diarrhea and indigestion. It is also known to be effective in treating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Eastern Rocket is also a popular ingredient in traditional cuisines across Asia and the Middle East. It is commonly used in salads, soups, stews, and as a garnish for a variety of dishes. The leaves of the plant have a spicy and slightly bitter taste, similar to arugula or mustard greens. The seeds of the plant are also used in cooking and have a nutty, slightly spicy flavor. Eastern Rocket is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C, calcium, and iron.

In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, Eastern Rocket is also an important plant for ecological restoration. Its ability to tolerate drought, grow rapidly, and produce a large number of seeds makes it an excellent candidate for restoring degraded landscapes. In some regions, it has been used to control soil erosion, and as a cover crop to improve soil fertility.

Eastern Rocket, also known as Sisymbrium orientale, has a long and fascinating history of use in various cultures. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years, where it is known as "Xiang Ru". It is believed to have a cooling effect on the body, and is often used to treat conditions such as fever, headaches, and sore throats.

In Ayurvedic medicine, Eastern Rocket is used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive disorders, respiratory problems, and skin conditions. It is known as "Hansraj" in Hindi and is believed to have a purifying effect on the body.

In addition to its traditional uses, Eastern Rocket has also been the subject of scientific research. Studies have shown that the plant contains a variety of compounds with potential health benefits, including antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and antimicrobial agents. Some studies have also suggested that Eastern Rocket may have anti-cancer properties, although more research is needed to confirm this.

Eastern Rocket is a relatively easy plant to grow, and is often used in home gardens as a spicy salad green. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil, and can be grown from seed. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate dry conditions, making it a good choice for gardens in arid regions.

In addition to its uses in traditional medicine, cuisine, and ecological restoration, Eastern Rocket has also been used in other applications. For example, the oil extracted from its seeds has been used in the production of soaps, cosmetics, and other personal care products. The oil is known to have moisturizing and emollient properties, making it a popular ingredient in natural skin care products.

Eastern Rocket has also been used in the production of biofuels. The plant is rich in oil, which can be extracted and used as a feedstock for the production of biodiesel. This is an important application, as it provides a renewable source of energy and helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

The plant has also been used in traditional dyeing processes, where it is used to produce yellow and green dyes. The leaves of the plant are harvested and boiled in water to extract the color, which can then be used to dye fabrics and other materials.

In some cultures, Eastern Rocket has also been used for its symbolic value. In Iran, for example, it is a symbol of renewal and rebirth, and is often used in celebrations of the Persian New Year. In Azerbaijan, it is believed to have magical properties and is used in folk medicine and ritual practices.

In conclusion, Eastern Rocket is a fascinating and versatile plant with a long and rich history of use. From its traditional medicinal uses to its culinary and ecological applications, this plant has much to offer. As ongoing scientific research continues to uncover new uses and benefits, it is clear that Eastern Rocket will continue to be an important and valuable plant for years to come.


Eastern Rocket filmed at Ainsdale, Lancashire on the 3rd July 2023.


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