Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) is a fast-growing, edible plant botanically related to watercress and mustard and sharing their peppery, tangy flavor and aroma. In some regions, garden cress is known as garden pepper cress, pepper grass or pepperwort.
Garden cress is a green perennial plant used as a leaf vegetable consumed by humans typically as a garnish. Undisturbed garden cress can grow to a height of two feet with minimal maintenance. When mature, garden cress produces white flowers, and small seedpods. Garden cress is used as a medicine in India in the system of ayurveda to prevent postnatal complications.
Cress may be given to pet birds such as budgerigars for a healthy and fresh treat.
Garden cress in agriculture
Agriculturally, cress is considered[attribution needed] among the most important species of the genus of the family of mustards. Cultivation of garden cress is practical on both mass scales and on the individual scale. Garden cress is suitable for hydroponic cultivation and thrives in water that is slightly alkaline. It is common for the consumer to acquire cress as seeds or (in Europe) from markets as a box of young live shoots. In many local markets the demand for hydroponically-grown cress far exceeds available supply. This is partially because cress leaves are not suitable for distribution in dried form, and thus can be only partially preserved. Edible shoots are typically harvested a week after germination.
Cress in cookery
|Garden cress, raw|
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
|Energy 30 kcal 130 kJ|
|Percentages are relative to US|
recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database
In England cut cress shoots are typically used in sandwiches with boiled eggs, mayonnaise and salt.
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