Eruca sativa (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Eruca sativa Miller

Family: Cruciferae


  • Brassica eruca L.,
  • Eruca foetida Moench,
  • E. vesicaria (L.) Cav. subsp. sativa (Miller) Thellung

Vernacular names

  • Garden rocket, roman rocket, rocket salad (En)
  • Roquette (Fr)


The origin of E. sativa is not known but it occurs wild and cultivated in the Mediterranean, North and North-East Africa, the Balkans, and East and Central Asia. It is also cultivated in India and America. In South-East Asia it is cultivated on several farms in Cavite province, the Philippines.


The leaves, seedlings and seeds of E. sativa are used in salads and as a condiment in the preparation of sauces and mustard. It is also used medicinally. In Asia E. sativa is cultivated for oil production; the seed oil is used as an edible oil, lubricant, fuel and for medicinal purposes. Immature green plants and the press cake are used to feed cattle and other animals. Garden rocket is in demand by international hotels and restaurants in the Philippines.


  • Erect, annual, branching, glaucous, glabrous or sub-hispid herb, 5-60(-100) cm tall.
  • Leaves alternate, lyrate-pinnatifid, variously toothed, rarely obovate and subentire.
  • Inflorescence racemose; sepals 4, long elliptical, 7-12 mm long, often tipped with hairs; petals 4, 14-24 mm long, pale yellow or white, veins visible; stamens 6, free.
  • Fruit a silique, 1-4.5 cm long, turgid, beaked, erect.
  • Seeds numerous, 2-seriate, globose, 1-2 mm in diameter.

E. sativa is self-sterile. The seeds contain 30-35% oil. E. sativa can be grown on poor soils with low rainfall.

Selected sources

  • Bhola, A.L. & Yadava, T.P., 1982. Management practices for rapeseed-mustard. Indian Farming 32(8): 48-50.
  • Hegi, G., 1906-1931. Illustrierte Flora von Mitteleuropa [Illustrated flora of Central Europe]. 7 volumes. Lehmanns Verlag, München, Germany. (2nd and 3rd editions, 1935- .)
  • Hooker, J.D., 1872-1897. Flora of British India. 7 volumes. Reeve, London, United Kingdom.
  • Huxley, A., Griffiths, M. & Levy, M. (Editors), 1992. The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening. 4 volumes. The Macmillan Press, London, United Kingdom.
  • Koike, S.T., Smith, R.F., van Buren, A.M. & Maddox, D.A., 1996. A new bacterial disease of arugula in California. Plant Disease 80(4): 464.
  • Mansfeld, R., 1986. Verzeichnis landwirtschaftlicher und gärtnerischer Kulturpflanzen (ohne Zierpflanzen) [Register of agricultural and horticultural plants in cultivation (without ornamentals)]. Schultze‑Motel, J. et al., editors 2nd edition, 4 volumes. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Germany. 1998 pp.
  • Rehm, S., 1994. Multilingual dictionary of agronomic plants. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands. 286 pp.
  • Rehm, S. & Espig, G., 1991. The cultivated plants of the tropics and subtropics. Cultivation, economic value, utilization. Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Co-operation (CTA), Ede, the Netherlands & Verlag Josef Margraf, Weikersheim, Germany. 552 pp.
  • The wealth of India (various editors), 1948-1976. A dictionary of Indian raw materials and industrial products: raw materials. 11 volumes. Publications and Information Directorate, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India. 4441 pp.


P.C.M. Jansen, M. Brink