Eruca sativa Mill. - Roquette, tirasalad, rocket-salad.

Taxonomic position.

Family: Brassicaceae; genus: Eruca Mill.


Eruca vesicaria (L.) Cav. subsp. sativa (Mill.) Thell.

Morphology and biology.

Annual plant. Stem is straight, branchy, up to 40 cm tall. All leaves are rather fleshy, sparsipilose or less frequently naked, with a specific odor. Lower leaves are lyrate pinnatisect. Sepals are 9-12 mm long; petals are 15-22 mm long, having obovate shape; whitish-yellow or sulphury yellow, with dark violet or brown veins. Pedicels under fruit are rather thick, almost pressed to the stem. Follicles are oblong or slightly compressed, non-torulose, 2-3 cm long. Valves are firm, with a protruding midrib and beak. Beak is 5-10 mm long, sword-like, compressed. Seeds are light brown or light grey-brown, compressed, set in two rows, 1.5-3 mm long and 1-2.5 mm wide. Blossoms from May through July; bears fruit in July/August. Entomophilous. 2n=22.


Generally distributed over Europe (Central and Eastern), Asia (North, Middle, Central, South-West and East), Northern Africa and Australia (anthropochore). In the ex-USSR: European part (Middle Dnieper, Lower Don, Volga-Don and Near-Black-Sea areas); Crimea; Caucasus (Ante-Caucasus, Daghestan and Southern Trans-Caucasus); Siberia (separate sites in the south-western areas); Middle Asia (separate sites in the areas where it is cultivated on a very limited scale).


Weedy in crops; rarely along railroad and roadways.

Utilization and economic value.

Leaves and seeds are edible. In the Caucasus leaves are used to make salads and dressing for soup. Seeds are used to prepare mustard. Grown as an oil-bearing crop. Demonstrates agrestal habits.

Reference citations:

Bush, N.A., ed. 1939. Flora USSR. Cruciferae. Moscow-Leningrad. V. 8: 469-470. (in Russian).
Cherepanov S.K. 1988. Plantae Vasculares Rossicae et Civitatum Collimitanearum (in limics USSR olim)[List of Vascular Plants of Russia]. St. Petersburg: Mir I Semia. 990 pp. (in Russian).
Dorofeev V.I. 1998. Family Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) of the middle Zone of a Europaean part of Russian Federation. Turchaninowia: Barnaul. V. 1(3): 94. (in Russian).
Dorofeev V.I. 2002. Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) of Europaean Russia. Turchaninowia: Barnaul. V. 5(3): 115. (in Russian)..
Grossgheim A.A. 1950. Flora of Caucasia. Moscow-Leningrad. V. 4: 175. (in Russian).
Tsvelev N.N. 2000. Vascular plants of Russia and the contiguous states (Leningrad, Pskov and Novgorod district). St. Petersburg: Publishing House of SPHFA. 781 p. (in Russian).

© Smekalova T.N.


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