Armoracia rusticana Gaertn., Mey et Scherb. - Common horseradish, red horseradish, Creole mustard, German mustard.

Taxonomic position.

Family: Brassicaceae, genus: Armoracia Gaertn., Mey et Scherb.

Morphology and biology.

Perennial plant with a thick, fleshy root. Stem is straight, branchy, 0.5 to 1.5 m high. Bottom leaves are very large, oblong with a dentate edge and heart-shaped base. Stem leaves vary in shape: lower leaves are pinnatipartite, middle ones are oblong lanceolate, and upper ones are linear, almost plain. Calyx lobes are approximately 3 mm long; petals are about 6 mm long, of white color, set on a short claw; inflorescence is a raceme that becomes longer under fruit; pedicels are straight. Fruit are silicles of oblong oval shape, inflated, 5-6 mm long, 5-5 times shorter than the pedicel; valves have netted venation without a midrib; cores contain 4 seeds; style is very short. Flowers in June; bears fruit in August. Entomophilous. Disseminated mostly with root fragments; practically never reproduced with seed. One can frequently observe deformed sterile silicles. 2n=32.


As a wild plant, distributed almost throughout Europe; imported in North America. Within the Former USSR borders occurs in the European part of Russia (Upper-Dnieper, Upper-Volga, Upper-Don, Volga-Kama and Trans-Volga areas). Feral plants are spread almost throughout the Former USSR.


Grows along riverbanks, in damp places.

Utilization and economic value.

Edible spicy kitchen garden plant. Root is used for food and flavoring; also a medicinal herb, one of the best ascorbic acid.

Reference Citations:

Bush, N.A., ed. 1939. Flora USSR. Cruciferae. Moscow-Leningrad. V.8: 28-607. (In Russian)
Cherepanov S.K. 1995. Plantae Vasculares Rossicae et Civitatum Collimitanearum (in limicis USSR olim). St. Petersburg: Mir I Semia. 990 pp. (In Russian)
Dorofeev V.I. 1998. Family Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) middle Zone of an European part of Russian Federation. Turchaninowia, Barnaul, 1(3): 94. (In Russian)
Dorofeev, V.I. 2002. Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) of Europaean Russia. Turchaninowia, Barnaul, 5(3): 115. (In Russian)
Grossgheim, A.A. 1950. Flora of Caucasus. Moscow-Leningrad. V.4: 175. (In Russian)

© Smekalova, T.N.


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