Watercress – Nasturtium officinale

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) Spring

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) Spring

Wetland Indicator Status: OBL

Plant Family: Brassicaceae ⁄ Cruciferae – Mustard family

Synonyms: Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum, Nasturtium nasturtium-aquaticum

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a non-native aquatic species introduced because it was edible.  It is now found in most of the lower 48 states.  Watercress is found commonly in and around springs where it remains green all year.  The comparatively warm ground water seeping out of hillsides keeps the water liquid and allows the plants to grow 365 days a year.  While I don’t like to see non-native species in the wild, I feel a little different about Water cress, because its green leaves are a welcome sight in the dead of winter.

Like many other species in the Mustard Family Watercress has a distinct flavor, and is often added to salads today.  Watercress is said to be one of the oldest cultivated green vegetables according to watercress.com.  It also said to be highly nutritious.

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

In winter active springs rarely freeze and keep the surrounding air warm enough to keep Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) during the cold winter.

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