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London Rocket

Sisymbrium irio

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 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, 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, walls, wasteland.

Yellow, 4 petals
Pale yellow flowers, 3 to 4mm in size. Flowers appear in clusters at the top of the plant. Pollinated by insects.
The fruit is a very slender, hairless, cylindrical pod, up to 5cm (2 inches) long. The pods remain green once ripe. The seeds ripen from July to September.
An annual flower with deeply pinnately lobed stem leaves. The end lobe is the shortest. The basal leaves are broad and lobed.
Other Names:
Indian Mustard.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Sisymbrium irio, also known as London rocket or Indian mustard, is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, and is now naturalized in many parts of the world, including North and South America. It 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. The plant 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.


London rocket (Sisymbrium irio) is a flowering plant native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa. It is a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae), which also includes other well-known plants such as broccoli, cauliflower, and mustard. London rocket is an annual plant that can grow up to 1 meter in height, with yellow flowers and long, narrow seed pods.

The name "London rocket" comes from the plant's ability to thrive in urban environments, particularly in the city of London. It was introduced to the area in the 17th century and quickly became a common sight along roadsides and in waste areas. Despite being considered a weed, London rocket has some interesting medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.

One of the primary traditional uses of London rocket is as a diuretic. It has also been used to treat coughs, fevers, and stomach problems. Recent research has shown that London rocket has antimicrobial properties and may be effective against certain types of bacteria, including those that cause food poisoning and other infections.

London rocket is also a good source of antioxidants, which are important for protecting the body from free radicals that can damage cells and contribute to chronic diseases. The plant contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, iron, and potassium.

London rocket is relatively easy to grow and is often used as a cover crop to improve soil quality. It can help to control erosion and prevent the growth of other weeds, making it a useful addition to gardens and other areas.

Despite its many benefits, London rocket is considered an invasive species in many parts of the world, including North America and Australia. It can quickly spread and outcompete native plants, which can have negative impacts on local ecosystems. As such, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with planting London rocket and to take appropriate measures to prevent it from becoming invasive.

London rocket is a fascinating plant with a rich history and a variety of potential uses. While it may be considered a weed in some areas, it has many valuable properties that make it a worthwhile addition to gardens and other environments. With proper care and attention, London rocket can be a beneficial plant that offers numerous health and environmental benefits.

London rocket, like other members of the Brassicaceae family, contains a range of compounds that may have potential health benefits. One such compound is sinigrin, which is a glucosinolate that has been shown to have anticancer properties. Research has shown that sinigrin can induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells, and it may also help to prevent the formation of new blood vessels that supply tumors with nutrients.

Another compound found in London rocket is erucic acid, which is an omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid. While erucic acid can be toxic in high amounts, it has also been shown to have some potential health benefits. For example, erucic acid may help to reduce inflammation in the body, which is a key factor in many chronic diseases.

London rocket has also been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, rheumatism, and toothache. In some cultures, London rocket is also used as a natural remedy for snakebites.

While London rocket has many potential benefits, it is important to be aware of its potential risks. As mentioned, London rocket can be invasive in some areas and can outcompete native plants. It can also be toxic to livestock, so care should be taken to prevent animals from grazing on the plant.

London rocket has also been used as a culinary herb in some cultures, particularly in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. The young leaves and seed pods of the plant have a slightly bitter and spicy flavor, which is similar to watercress. They can be used in salads, soups, stews, and other dishes. In some cultures, the seed pods are pickled and used as a condiment.

London rocket is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soil types and climatic conditions. It is often found growing in disturbed areas such as roadsides, vacant lots, and construction sites. While it may be considered a weed in some areas, it can also be a valuable addition to urban ecosystems by providing habitat and food for pollinators and other wildlife.

In addition to its traditional medicinal uses, London rocket has also been studied for its potential as a source of biofuels. The plant contains high levels of oil, which can be extracted and processed into biodiesel. This could provide a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

Overall, London rocket is a versatile and fascinating plant with a rich history and many potential uses. While it may be considered a weed in some areas, it has a range of valuable properties that make it worth considering as a useful addition to gardens, urban ecosystems, and even the field of biofuels.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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