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Garden Cress
Young plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Lepidium
Species: L. sativum
Binomial name
Lepidium sativum
Lepidium sativum.jpg

Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) is a fast-growing, edible herb that is botanically related to watercress and mustard, sharing their peppery, tangy flavor and aroma. In some regions, garden cress is known as garden pepper cress, pepper grass, pepperwort or poor man's pepper.[1][2]

This annual plant can reach a height of 60 cm (~24 inches), with many branches on the upper part. The white to pinkish flowers are only 2 mm (1/12th of an inch) across, clustered in branched racemes.[3][4]

Garden cress can grow almost anywhere.


Garden cress in agriculture

Garden Cress is commercially grown in England, France, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.[5]

Agriculturally, cress is considered 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. 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. It is common for the consumer to acquire cress as seeds or (in Europe) from markets as a box of young live shoots.[5]

Edible shoots are typically harvested in 1 - 2 weeks, when they are 5-13 cm (2 - 5 inches) tall.[6]

Cress in cookery

Garden cress, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 134 kJ (32 kcal)
Carbohydrates 5.5 g
Dietary fiber 1.1 g
Fat 0.7 g
Protein 2.6 g
Vitamin A equiv. 346 μg (38%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 80 μg (20%)
Vitamin C 69 mg (115%)
Calcium 81 mg (8%)
Iron 1.3 mg (10%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Garden Cress is added to soups, sandwiches and salads for its tangy flavor.[6]. It is also eaten as sprouts, and the fresh or dried seed pods can be used as a peppery seasoning.[5] In England cut cress shoots are typically used in sandwiches with boiled eggs, mayonnaise and salt.

Other uses

Garden cress is used as a medicine in India in the system of ayurveda to prevent postnatal complications. Cress is also one of the easiest vegetables to grow they can grow just about anywhere.

Cress may be given to pet birds such as budgerigars for a healthy and fresh treat.


  1. ^ Cassidy, Frederic Gomes and Hall, Joan Houston. Dictionary of American regional English, Harvard University Press, 2002. Page 97. ISBN 0674008847, 9780674008847
  2. ^ Staub, Jack E, Buchert, Ellen. 75 Exceptional Herbs for Your GardenPublished by Gibbs Smith, 2008. ISBN 142360251X, 9781423602514
  3. ^ Vegetables of Canada. Published by NRC Research Press. ISBN 0660195038, 9780660195032
  4. ^ Boswell, John T. and Sowerby, James. English Botany: Or, Coloured Figures of British Plants. Robert Hardwicke, 1863. Page 215.
  5. ^ a b c Vegetables of Canada. NRC Research Press. ISBN 0660195038, 9780660195032
  6. ^ a b Hirsch, David P.. The Moosewood Restaurant kitchen garden: creative gardening for the adventurous cook. Ten Speed Press, 2005. ISBN 1580086667, 9781580086660

External links



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