Latin Name: Raphanus raphanistrum
Origin: Native to Mediterranean region.
Known Hazards: None known.
Habitat: Woods and scrub in dry rocky places.
Edibility Rating: 2 (1-5)
Medicinal Rating: 1 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics: Erect annual, or less often biennial, herb to 1 (rarely to 1.5 m) high. Leaves variable, with bristle-like hairs; basal leaves to about 30 cm long, lobed with terminal lobe much larger than lower lobes; upper leaves shorter and highest leaves often undivided. Fruit with up to 12 seeds. Seeds ovoid to globe-shaped, to 3 mm long, net-like veins on surface, red to yellow-brown. Taproot wiry to over 1 m deep; laterals roots fibrous.
Flowers: In branched racemes. Flowers late winter to summer.The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.
Distinguishing features: Distinguished by heart-shaped first leaves (cotyledons) on seedlings; white to yellow or mauve petals often violet-veined, sometimes veins indistinct. Fruit to 9 cm long (including beak), and strongly constricted between seeds, breaking into 1-seeded ribbed units at maturity. Stems with bristle-like hairs.
Dispersal: Seed spread by animals, wind and water. Mostly spread by agricultural products containing the seed.
Flowers; Leaves; Seed; Seedpod. Young leaves – raw or cooked. A somewhat hot taste, they are finely cut and added to salads or used as a potherb. It is best to use just the young leaves in spring, older leaves soon become bitter. Seed – raw or cooked. A very pungent flavour, the seed can be ground into a powder and made into a paste when it is an excellent substitute for mustard. The sprouted seeds have a somewhat hot spicy flavour and are a tasty addition to salads. Flowers – raw. A nice addition to salads. The flower buds are used as a broccoli substitute, they should be lightly steamed for no more than 5 minutes. Young seedpods – raw. Crisp and juicy, they must be eaten when young because they quickly become tough and fibrous. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.