Scientific Name of Plant
Cool running water is the growing ground for this member of the mustard family, which can often be found in the wild in and around streams and brooks. Watercress has small, crisp, dark green leaves. Its pungent flavor is slightly bitter and has a peppery snap. Watercress is available year-round and is customarily sold in small bouquets. Choose crisp leaves with deep, vibrant color. There should be no sign of yellowing or wilting. Refrigerate in a plastic bag (or stems-down in a glass of water covered with a plastic bag) for up to 5 days. Wash and shake dry just before using. Watercress may be used in salads, sandwiches, soups and a variety of cooked dishes. It's also a popular garnish, fast replacing the ubiquitous parsley.
Watercresses (Nasturtium officinale, N. microphyllum; formerly Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum, R. microphylla) are fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial plants native from Europe to central Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by human beings. It is an invasive species in the Great Lakes region where it was first sighted in 1847. These plants are members of the Family Brassicaceae or cabbage family, botanically related to garden cress and mustard — all noteworthy for a peppery, tangy flavour.
The hollow stems of watercress are floating and the leaves are pinnately compound. Watercresses produce small white and green flowers in clusters.