Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa, Salad Rocket

Salad Rocket has showy flowers that may be white, creamy-white or yellow. Note in the photo that the flowers have dark brown, green of purple veins. Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa 
Common Name: Salad Rocket
Salad Rocket flowers have 4 petals and 4 sepals that, together form a cross (reference to original family name Cruciferae). Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa Salad Rocket has green leaves, both basal and stem leaves. The lower basal leaves may be withered by the time the fruit is setting. The lower leaves are widely oblanceolate or pinnatisect, deeply lobed with 4 to 10 small lateral lobes and a large terminal lobe. Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa Salad Rocket is found world-wide and is also called Arugula, Colewort, Garden Rocket, Roquette and Rucola. Plants bloom from March, April or May to June and through September. Found from sea level to 4,000 feet (1,200 m). Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa

Scientific Name: Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa
Common Name: Salad Rocket

Also Called: Arugula, Colewort, Garden Rocket, Roquette, Rucola

Family: Brassicaceae, Mustard Family

Synonyms: (Brassica Eruca, Eruca sativa, Eruca vesicaria, Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa,)

Status: Introduced; from Europe: Africa

Duration: Annual

Size: Up to 3 feet (1 m) tall.

Growth Form: Forb/herb; stems usually branching from the basal portion; herbage variable; glabrous, hirsute or hispid.

Leaves: Green; leaves basal and stem (cauline), basal leaves often withered by fruit set, basal leaves widely oblanceolate or pinnatisect, deeply lobed with 4 to 10 small lateral lobes and a large terminal lobe; uppermost cauline leaves sub-sessile and similar to basal leaves.

Flower Color: White, creamy-white or yellow with dark brown, green or purple veins; flowers purple-bracted; inflorescence is a corymb; the 4 petals forming a cross, the petals broadly obovate; sepals 4; anthers yellow; 6 yellow stamens, 4 long and 2 short; fruits a cylindrical, flattened, linear or elliptic silique (pod); erect to ascending, seeds grayish brown, pale or orange.

Flowering Season: March, April or May to June through September

Elevation: Sea Level to 4,000 feet (1,200 m).

Habitat Preferences: Roadsides, disturbed areas, waste places, cultivated fields, dry ditches, rocky outcrops, gravelly slopes, sandy plains, open rangelands.

Recorded Range: Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa is found throughout much of the United States and southward into Mexico, Central and South America

North America & US County Distribution Map for Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: In North America there is 1 species for Eruca vesicaria. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 3 accepted species names for the genus.

There is 1 sub-species in Eruca vesicaria;
Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa, Salad Rocket, (see distribution above).

Comments: Salad Rocket is edible as a leaf vegetable with a fresh, tart, bitter and peppery flavor. It is widely naturalized and cultivated. First introduced as a seed contaminant of alfalfa fields in North America in Flathead Co., Montana in 1898. Rocket Salad is currently commercially grown in North America and in Europe as a salad plant.

Here is a link to an excellent Wikipedia site with detailed information and another link to Flora of North America with both technical and interesting notes.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa is used as a food by the larvae of some moth species, including the Garden Carpet Moth (Xanthorhoe fluctuata). Additionally, the flowers may be visited by bees and other small insects.

The genus Eruca is a classical Latin name used by Columella, Pliny, Horace and Martial. "Eruca" is a Latin word for "caterpillar" also for "colewort", a type of cabbage.

The species epithet "vesicaria" (vesicar'ia:) means "bladder-like".

The sub-species name "sativa" (sati'va/sati'vum/sati'vus: Latin, adj.) derived from "satum" which loosely translated means "to sow" or "that which is sown"; indicating the species is a garden or cultivated species.

The English common name "Rocket" is from the Italian word "Ruchetta" a diminutive of the Latin word "eruca". The standard Italian word is "Rucola".

Salad Rocket is a pungent, leafy green vegetable used in salads and resembling a longer-leaved and open lettuce, Eruca vesicaria is rich in vitamin C and potassium. In addition to the leaves, the flowers, young seed pods and mature seeds are all edible. As a fresh leaf vegetable it is tart, bitter, and peppery flavored.

Salad Rocket was grown as an edible and popular herb in Italy since Roman times.

Date Profile Completed: 03/17/2020
Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, Arizona Flora, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California; as Brassica eruca.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 03/16/2020)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 03/16/2020).
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Eruca vesicaria', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 March 2020, 07:30 UTC, [accessed 17 March 2020]
Suzanne I. Warwick,FNA | Family List |FNA Vol. 7 | Brassicaceae | Eruca; 1a. Eruca vesicaria (Linnaeus) Cavanilles subsp. sativa (Miller) Thellung in G. Hegi et al., Ill. Fl. Mitt.-Eur. 4: 201. 1918. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
FNA 2010, Jepson 2012, Kearney and Peebles 1969; Editor:L. Crumbacher, 2012 ; from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; - (accessed 03/16/2020).
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
Etymology:Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 03/17/2020)