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ARMORACIA rusticana

Image of Armoracia rusticana

James H. Schutte

Family

Brassicaceae

Botanical Name

ARMORACIA rusticana

Plant Common Name

Horseradish

General Description

This hardy, coarse, deep-rooted perennial is the source of horseradish, the familiar, fiery condiment. It grows as a clump of large, toothed, puckered, dark-green leaves on long stems arising from a fleshy root that divides vigorously into offshoots and sends out tunneling stems to start new plants with such vigor that one plant soon becomes many. Unless dug out regularly, the new plants can become invasive pests. Even a tiny fragment of root left in the ground will grow a new plant.

From late spring to summer, the root sends up tall, leafy, branching flowering stalks topped with clusters of small white flowers, very like other members of the brassica family such as broccoli, but only slightly ornamental. Harvest comes in autumn, after frost kills the leaves. The plant is dug up, the main root is saved and the offshoots are replanted or discarded. Grating the root releases its eye-watering pungency.

Give this plant moderately fertile, well-drained soil and full sun. Also give it room so its spreading habit can be checked by spading up new plantlets without harming its neighbors. Avoid encouraging this plant’s natural vigor and invasive with rich soil, mulch or fertilizing.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Eastern Europe, Southern Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Yes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes