Horseradish

©Dave Riseborough

Horseradish

Scientific name: Armoracia rusticana
Horseradish is used as a well-loved condiment. This member of the cabbage family is actually an introduced species in the UK, but causes no harm in the wild.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 70cm

Conservation status

Introduced, but naturalised species.

When to see

January to December

About

Horseradish is a common perennial of waste ground, railway cuttings and roadside verges mainly in England. Arriving here from western Asia sometime before the 16th century, the use of prepared Horseradish roots as a condiment for meat quickly became popular. But the preparation of Horseradish is pretty hard-going - the pungent roots can cause tears worse than those from chopping an onion! Today, commercial production is widespread.

How to identify

A bushy, lettuce-like plant, Horseradish has long, crinkled, oval leaves and tiny, white flowers that appear in clusters on the long stem.

Distribution

Mostly found in England.

Did you know?

As a member of the Brassica family (cabbages), it's no surprise that Horseradish has been cultivated for thousands of years - there is evidence that the both Ancient Greeks and Egyptians used it, and its leaves provided a popular herbal remedy in the Middle Ages.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts record and monitor our local wildlife to understand the effects of various factors on their populations, such as the introduction of new species. You can help with this vital monitoring work by becoming a volunteer - you'll not only help local wildlife but learn new skills and make new friends along the way.