Rocket or arugula

Eruca sotiva syn. Eruca vesicaria subsp. sotiva Brassicaceae

Native to the Mediterranean basin and eastward to Turkey and Jordan, rocket has been popular as a salad green since ancient Roman times for its peppery, smoky, meaty flavor. Even now. it is still sometimes known as Roman rocket.

Other comrr n nmes Italian cress, Roman rocket, rucola, rugula Parts used Leaves, flowers, seeds

Wild rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia)

Rocket (Eruca sotiva) is an annual plant resembling an open lettuce, with deeply pinnately lobed (occasionally entire) leaves that are aromatic and peppery, and contain similiar isothiocyanate compounds to horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) and wasabi (Wasabia japonica); see page 64. The leaves add considerable flavor to other salad greens, while the piquantly flavored, four-petaled white flowers can be added to salads. The small round seeds are borne in siliquas (which are seed capsules that separate when ripe).

Tall rocket or tumbling mustard (Sisymbrium altissimum), London rocket (S. irio) and Mediterranean rocket or smooth mustard (S. erysimoides) all have a peppery flavor. Sweet rocket or dame's violet [Hesperis matronolis), sometimes confused with rocket, is a popular old-fashioned garden flower that resembles a tall single stock with purple or white evening-scented flowers.

Plants that are sold as wild rocket or wild arugula or Ruchetta seivatica or

Rocket or arugula (Eruca sativa)

roquette sauvage are usually Diplotaxis tenuifolia syn. Brassica tenuifolia, a species with yellow flowers and leaves that resemble a more slender version of rocket. The flavor is more intense.

• Position Plant rocket in full sun in the cooler months, but in midsummer provide some light shade. Rocket is quite unfussy otherwise, thriving in average garden soil, while wild arugula requires similar conditions.

• Propagation Sow rocket in successive plantings each month, from spring to autumn, because it tends to run to flower

Grown in the Mediterranean area since Roman times, rocket has only been cultivated commercially since the 1990s.
Rocket or arugula [Eruca sativo)

fairly easily. If it doesn't self-seed in your garden, carry out monthly plantings to maintain your supplies.

• Maintenance Weeding, providing shade protection in midsummer and regular watering are required.

• Pests and diseases Flea beetles can be a problem, and some butterfly larvae may eat leaves.

• Harvesting and storing Pick rocket leaves before flowering. Harvest the flowers as required for fresh use, and collect seeds when ripe.

Plant rocket in spring and autumn. In summer, you'll need to provide some shade.

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A member of the same plant family as cabbage and broccoli, rocket has a tangy, peppery flavor when grown during the cool spring and autumn months, but a stronger, mustardlike taste if harvested during summer.

The leaves are best gathered before flowering, after which they become more bitter. Wash rocket well and store it in the refrigerator in the same way you would lettuce.

This salad herb goes well with other salad leaves to make a mixed salad or mesclun (see Salad greens in the box, right); the younger leaves tend to have a milder flavor, but old leaves can be bitter.

Rapidly saute or steam rocket for use in pasta and risotto dishes, stir-fries, soups and sauces, or to replace basil in pesto. Rocket needs only the briefest cooking. Add a scattering of the fresh herb as a traditional topping for pizzas at the end of baking.

The Ancient Romans used rocket seeds to flavor oil and to concoct aphrodisiacs. The seeds make excellent sprouts and are also pressed for oil.

Roman salad

The Romans considered rocket an aphrodisiac but their recipe for a mixed salad of rocket, witlof. cos lettuce, lavender and tender mallow leaves with cheese and dressing is sufficiently seductive in its own right. A modern take on this salad is rocket simply dressed with good olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some shavings of parmesan cheese.

Salad greens for a salad with more color, flavor and nutritional value, try combining a selection of salad greens. Rocket, mizuna, watercress and curly endive are all more nutritious than lettuce. In combination, they have a slightly bitter taste.


Rosa sp. Rosaceae

The edible petals of herbal roses make delicious conserves and are used in salads and desserts, while the petals oi some varieties yield the fabulously expensive and richly fragrant attar of roses used in perfumery. Both the rosehips and petals find many uses in cosmetics.

Parts used Petals, rosehips

Herbal roses, not modern ones - fragrant and beautiful though they are - are the roses of choice for cooking, fragrance and herbal medicines.

'Apothecary Rose'

The most famous herbal rose is ft gallica 'Officinalis,' sometimes called the 'Rose of Miletus,' the 'Rose of Provins,' the 'Red Rose of Lancaster' and 'Champagne Rose'; (see also The Wars of the Roses and 'Rosa Mundi' features, opposite page).

The 'Apothecary Rose' was cultivated in vast fields around the famous town of Provins, 30 mi. (50 km) southeast of Paris, from the 13th to the 19th century. Unlike other roses, the fragrance in the petals is strongly retained after drying. The petals are tonic and astringent, and were used by many physicians, including the great Arab doctor Avicenna.

In Provins, the petals of 'Officinalis' were manufactured into conserves, jellies, syrups, cordials, pastilles, fragrant perfumes, salves, creams and candles, all products still favored today.

'Officinalis' was grown in monastery gardens throughout Europe. The petals, either administered as a tea or a syrup, were used to treat the common cold, inflammation of the digestive tract and hysteria. A decoction was used to treat sprains, chapped lips and sore throats.

Roso rugosa 'Frau Dagmar Hastrup'

Other long-favored roses for the herb garden include the Gallica roses Tuscany' ('Old Velvet'), 'Belle Isis,' * 'Duchesse de Montebello' and 'Belle de Crecy,' together with the Centifolia rose 'Reine des Centfeuilles.'

Attar of roses

Today, the major producers of rose products and the extremely expensive perfume concentrate attar (otto) of roses are Iran and Bulgaria. Both regions grow the Damask rose (ft x domosceno), 'Ispahan' and 'Gloire de Guilan' being favored in Iran and 'Kazanlik' syn. Trigintipetala' in Bulgaria. The area around Grasse in France still produces

Rosehips of Roso rugosa


The single-flowered varieties of Rugosa rose (ft rugoso), with their abundant, repeat-flowering habit, and tolerance of cold and seaside locations, bear clusters of plum-size hips that are excellent for use in syrups and teas. Rosehip oil, also known as rose mosqueta, is very rich in essential fatty acids and has multiple benefits for the skin. This oil, an antioxidant and astringent that contains flavonoids and carotenoids, is prepared from the hips of both ft canino and ft eglonterio.

Rosa gallica Tuscany'

attar, which is derived mainly from the very fragrant 'Old Cabbage Rose' (ft centifolia). A small amount comes from the Alba rose and the Damask rose 'Quatre Saisons.'

• Position The herbal roses prefer full sun, although the Alba roses are the most shade tolerant of all roses.

• Propagation Most of the herbal roses flower only once a year but extremely abundantly over a month. 'Quatre Saisons' is repeat flowering. Rugosa roses are highly repeat flowering over a long season.

All respond to the incorporation of well-rotted compost, but avoid using modern fast-release fertilizers.

Rosa x damascena 'Kazanlik; a Damask rose

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The 'Apothecary Rose.' Rosa gallica 'Officinalis.' may have been introduced from the Middle East into Western Europe by the Crusaders. In England, it became the symbol of the House of Lancaster in the Wars of the Roses (1455-1487). The opposing House of York adopu-d the ancient semi-double Alba rose. The White Rose of York' (R. alba 'Semi-plena'), while the Jacobites chose the fully double form, which became known as the Jacobite Rose (R. alba Plena'). At the end of the wars. Henry VII. the father of Henry VIII. combined them into the Tudor Rose, usually depicted as a double rose with while on red. one of the symbols of the House of Tudor.

• Maintenance Old roses are very tough and need not be pruned or sprayed. If you wish to prune them for shaping, do so immediately after flowering ceases because they flower on ripe wood. Apply mulch in summer.

• Pests and diseases The varieties mentioned above recover rapidly from any attack and can be grown without sprays, while rugosa roses such as 'Frau Dagmar Hastrup' and 'Alba' are remarkably disease-resistant.

• Harvesting and storing Harvest herbal roses when they have just opened, on sunny mornings as soon as the dew has dried. To dry, spread the flowers on flyscreen-covered frames out of direct sunlight. Harvest the hips when fully colored and dry in the same way as the flowers.

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This portrait of Edward VI of England (1537-1553), the son of Henry VIII, shows the Lancaster and York roses combining to form the Tudor rose.

The charming Rosa gallica 'Versicolor or Rosa mundf ('rose or the world ), is named for Rosamund Clifford, the reluctant mistress of Henry II. king of England in the 12th century. An ancient sport of Officinalis.' it bears semi-double deep pink blooms up to 3.5 in. (9 cm) across, with pale pink to white irregular stripes.

Continue reading here: Rose

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