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HORSE-RADISH

HORSERADISH

Armoracia rusticana

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

category
category8Crops
status
statusZarchaeophyte
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8yellow
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
stem
stem8round
stem
stem8ribbed

2nd July 2011, Waterloo, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Grows in small isolated clumps, especially near the sea. It is very invasive and able to spread wildly.


23rd April 2011, dunes, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Flowering stalks start to tower over the erect basal leaves in Spring.


21st May 2012, dunes, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Basal leaves Dock-like, with a satin sheen, usually wavy, sometimes slightly toothed, occasionally deeply cut almost pinnate and always nearly vertical. Flowers buds at first form an almost flat umbel of light-green buds.


21st May June 2012, dunes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Flowers in tassels, many here not yet opened.


21st May 2012, dunes, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Basal leaves oval. Upper stem leaves linear but with a lengthwise fold running its length for rigidity, a bit like those of Weld. Middle stem leaves broader.


23rd April 2011, dunes, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves have prominent veins on rear. Stem leaves almost stalk-less. Here upright basal leaves with blunt shallow teeth.


21st May June 2012, dunes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
When 'bolting' the main flowering stem has long flowering shoots arising from just above every stem leaf junction. It can then reach 1.5m high. Flowers numerous and in trusses.


21st May 2012, dunes, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Long linear upper stem leaves are folded lengthwise for rigidity.


23rd April 2011, dunes, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Un-opened flower buds in a compact bunch and light green in colour.


21st May 2012, dunes, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Buds open the four oval and curved sepals allowing the four white straggly petals to emerge. Four sepals, cup-shaped, less than half the length of petals.


18th June 2012, dunes, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Petals wrinkled and untidy. Flowers 8-9mm across.


21st May 2012, dunes, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Flowers have six stamens bearing long cream-coloured anthers. Style has a hemispherical dome on top.


21st May June 2012, dunes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Pollen cream coloured.


21st May 2012, dunes, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Stems ridged and wavy. Flowering stalks emerge from stem-leaf axils.


18th June 2012, dunes, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Pods start off spindle-like, expanding when ripe (which they rarely do in Britain) becoming globular.


Not to be semantically nor visually confused with : Sea Radish (Raphanis raphanistrum), , Wild Radish (Raphanis raphanistrum ssp. maritimus) or Garden Radish (Raphanis sativus) [plants with similar names belonging to the same Cabbage Family (Brassicaceaea) but in a differing Genus (Raphanus)]

Uniquely identifiable characteristics :

Distinguishing Feature : the oval basal leaves which stick more or less upright. When crushed the leaves smell of horseradish sauce.

Inhabits roadsides and waste ground, especially near the coast in Lancashire. Also grown in gardens for the cream-coloured semi-liquid with a biting taste that constitutes horse-radish sauce that can be prepared from its brownish roots. Horseradish sauce is used as a condiment on fried fish and the like.

When the almost odourless root is grated, the released enzymes contained within it which break down the Sinigrin (a glucosinolate) into Allyl-Isothiocyanate, a mustard oil with a pungent smell which forms between 64% to 84% of the total volatiles compounds produced by the root. If it is not immediately consumed or mixed with vinegar and cream to make a sauce and is instead left exposed to the air it loses its pungency becoming un-pleasantly bitter. The sauce is also made with cream.

Sinigrin also produces the breakdown product DiAllylSulphide. Sinigrin is found in other Brassica species, such as Wild Cabbage. Horse-radish also produces other mustard-oils such as Methyl-IsoThioCyanate, Ethyl-IsoThioCyanate, IsoPropyl-IsoThioCyanate, 2-Butyl-IsoThioCyanate, 4-Pentenyl-IsoThioCyanate, and 2-PhenylEthy-IsoThioCyanate (which comprises 4-18% of horseradish sauce. It must therefore possess the Glucosinolates which are necessary to produce those, and indeed does, the glucosinolate producing the 2-PhenylEthyl-Isothiocyanate is Gluconasturtiin (aka PhenylEthylGlucosinolate).

Horseradish also contains the enzyme horseradish peroxidase, a glycoprotein with a molecular weight of over 44 kilodaltons, which is used in the biological laboratory as an agent for assaying.

It is a ruderal plant able to take advantage of 3 mechanisms: a) the roots are tuberous and contain great stores of energy able to sustain the plant over prolonged periods in times of stress, b) they are pioneer species able to quickly take over disturbed ground where c) they may permanently suppress the establishment of rival species, usually by taking all the ground but perhaps also by chemical means.


  Armoracia rusticana  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Brassicaceae  

Distribution
 family8Cabbage family8Brassicaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Armoracia
Armoracia
(Horse-Radish)

HORSE-RADISH

HORSERADISH

Armoracia rusticana

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]