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Garden Cress

Lepidium sativum

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.
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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, Eastern Rocket, English Scurvygrass, Evergreen Candytuft, False London Rocket, Field Pennycress, Field Pepperwort, Flixweed, Garden Arabis, Garden Candytuft, 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:
60 centimetres tall
Gardens, roadsides, wasteland.

White, 4 petals
The white flowers appear in clusters. Each flower is 2 to 3mm in size. The flowers may sometimes be pink. The petals are longer than the sepals. 6 stamens (sometimes 4). Pollinated by insects.
The fruit is a gnarled, flattened pod. It is broader than long and has a very short beak. Two-seeded. The seeds ripen in July and August.
An annual plant with greyish-green foliage. The leaves are pinnately divided. Can be found on well trodden paths, particularly in gateways.
Garden Cress is a strong-smelling plant.
Other Names:
Cress, Garden Pepper Cress, Gardencress Pepperweed, Mustard and Cress, Pepper Grass, Pepperwort, Poor Man's Pepper.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Lepidium sativum, also known as garden cress, is a species of flowering plant in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and is widely cultivated for its spicy, pungent leaves, which are used as a garnish or as a flavoring in salads and sandwiches. Garden cress is a annual plant, meaning it completes its life cycle in one year. It has small, white flowers and delicate, feathery leaves. The plant grows to a height of about 30 cm and has a fast growth rate, making it a popular choice for home gardens. Garden cress is also known for its high nutritional value, as it is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is often grown for its medicinal properties as well, as it is believed to have various health benefits.


Garden Cress, also known as Lepidium sativum, is an edible herb that is native to the Mediterranean region and is commonly grown in Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. This herb is a part of the mustard family and is a quick-growing, annual plant that can reach up to 60 cm in height. It is also known by other names such as watercress, mustard cress, peppergrass, and cress.

Garden Cress has been a staple in human diets for centuries, being used for its nutritional benefits, versatility, and zesty flavor. The leaves, stems, and seeds of this herb are all edible, and they can be consumed raw or cooked. The leaves are rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron, making them a nutritious addition to salads, sandwiches, and soups. The seeds, on the other hand, are a great source of protein, and they can be used to make a spicy condiment or added to dishes as a garnish.

One of the most significant benefits of garden cress is its high content of iron. This mineral is essential for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. For this reason, garden cress is often recommended for people with anemia, as well as for women who are pregnant or menstruating, as they are more susceptible to iron deficiencies.

Garden Cress is also known for its medicinal properties. The leaves and seeds of the plant contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and phytochemicals that have been shown to have a range of health benefits. For example, garden cress has been used to treat respiratory problems, such as coughs and colds, as well as digestive problems, such as constipation and bloating. It is also believed to have a positive effect on cardiovascular health, as it is believed to lower blood pressure and improve circulation.

Garden Cress is a nutritious and versatile herb that is an excellent addition to any diet. Its zesty flavor, high content of vitamins and minerals, and numerous health benefits make it a popular ingredient in many cuisines around the world. Whether you are looking to add some extra nutrition to your meals or simply want to try something new, garden cress is definitely worth considering.

Aside from its culinary and medicinal uses, garden cress is also a popular plant for ornamental purposes. Its delicate, green leaves and small white flowers make it a great addition to any garden, and it can be grown in a variety of soils, making it a low-maintenance plant. It is also an excellent choice for hydroponic gardening, as it can be grown in water without soil.

Growing garden cress is relatively easy, and it can be done both indoors and outdoors. It is a fast-growing plant and can be ready to harvest within just a few weeks of planting. When growing garden cress indoors, it is important to provide the plant with plenty of sunlight and to keep the soil moist. Outdoors, it can be grown in full sun or partial shade, and it prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter.

One of the great things about garden cress is that it can be grown all year round, which makes it an excellent source of fresh greens, no matter the season. It is also a great plant for beginners, as it is very easy to care for and is low maintenance. Whether you are looking for a nutritious addition to your diet or a beautiful plant to brighten up your garden, garden cress is definitely worth considering.

Garden cress is a multi-functional herb that is not only delicious but also packed with health benefits. Whether you are looking to add some extra nutrition to your meals, grow your own herbs, or simply enjoy a tasty and healthy snack, garden cress is a great choice.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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