Recorded Range:Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa is found throughout much of the United States and southward into Mexico, Central and South America
North America & US County Distribution Map for Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa.
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.
Genus Information: In North America there is 1 species for Eruca vesicaria. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 3 accepted species names for the genus.
There is 1 sub-species in Eruca vesicaria; Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa, Salad Rocket, (see distribution above).
Comments: Salad Rocket is edible as a leaf vegetable with a fresh, tart, bitter and peppery flavor. It is widely naturalized and cultivated. First introduced as a seed contaminant of alfalfa fields in North America in Flathead Co., Montana in 1898. Rocket Salad is currently commercially grown in North America and in Europe as a salad plant.
Here is a link to an excellent Wikipedia site with detailed information and another link to Flora of North America with both technical and interesting notes.
Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa is used as a food by the larvae of some moth species, including the Garden Carpet Moth (Xanthorhoe fluctuata). Additionally, the flowers may be visited by bees and other small insects.
The genus Eruca is a classical Latin name used by Columella, Pliny, Horace and Martial. "Eruca" is a Latin word for "caterpillar" also for "colewort", a type of cabbage.
The species epithet "vesicaria" (vesicar'ia:) means "bladder-like".
The sub-species name "sativa" (sati'va/sati'vum/sati'vus: Latin, adj.) derived from "satum" which loosely translated means "to sow" or "that which is sown"; indicating the species is a garden or cultivated species.
The English common name "Rocket" is from the Italian word "Ruchetta" a diminutive of the Latin word "eruca". The standard Italian word is "Rucola".
Salad Rocket is a pungent, leafy green vegetable used in salads and resembling a longer-leaved and open lettuce, Eruca vesicaria is rich in vitamin C and potassium. In addition to the leaves, the flowers, young seed pods and mature seeds are all edible. As a fresh leaf vegetable it is tart, bitter, and peppery flavored.
Salad Rocket was grown as an edible and popular herb in Italy since Roman times.