Mix­ing up your rock­ets

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Plants with a purpose -

Con­fu­sion can arise over species as the same com­mon names may be used for an­nual and peren­nial forms.

The rocket most of­ten cul­ti­vated and used in sal­ads is the an­nual, known as Eruca sativa ( syn. E. ver­si­caria subsp

sativa), var­i­ously known as arugula, ru­cola or roquette.

A peren­nial form, Di­plotaxis tenuifo­lia, is of­ten gath­ered in the wild in Italy. It is also re­ferred to as Ital­ian wild arugula, rus­tic arugula and peren­nial wall rocket. It’s slower grow­ing than the an­nual type and favoured by some for its stronger flavour and richer nu­tri­ent con­tent.

Con­fus­ingly, both species may also be called ruchetta, and the peren­nial species is best treated as an an­nual as it de­vel­ops deep roots un­der­ground that will take over if al­lowed to spread.

Eruca sativa.

Di­plotaxis tenuifo­lia.

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