Armoracia rusticana P.G. Gaertner, B. Meyer & J. Scherbius

Armoracia rusticana P.G. Gaertner, B. Meyer & J. Scherbius




Cochlearia armoracia L., Ar­moracia lapathifolia Gilibert, Nasturtium armoracia (L,) Fries.

Vernacular Names

English Horseradish.
Philippines Ka­munggay (Cebuano).
French Cran, meredic, raifort sauvage.

Geographical Distributions

Armoracia rusticana is believed to originate from southeastern Europe and western Asia where it has been culti­vated since antiquity. It can now be found natu­ralised as an escape from cultivation in many tem­perate regions of the world. Its cultivation is most important in Europe and North America. In Southeast Asia, it is occasionally cultivated in mountainous areas, e.g. in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.


Armoracia rusticana is an erect, perennial, hairless herb, up to 1.5 m tall and often grown as an annual. Its primary root (taproot) is thick, often several-headed, cylin­drical to conical, up to 50 cm long, woody in wild plants while fleshy in cultivated plants, yellowish-white, devel­oping long secondary roots and subterranean run­ners.

Its stem is single or multiple, straight, branched in upper part, ribbed and hollow.

The leaves are smooth or crinkled. The lower leaves are initially in rosette, long-petioled, ovate-oblong from an acute or cordate base, 30-100 cm long, irregularly crenate-lance-shaped and coarsely serrate. The leaves are arranged spirally with the lower ones petioled, often pinnatilobed-­pinnatipartite while the higher ones gradually become subsessile, lance-shaped and crenate-serrate or subentire.

The inflorescence is a raceme, 20-40 cm long and many-flowered. The racemes are combined into a terminal panicle. The pedicel is erecto-patent, where it is 5-10 mm long in flower while up to 2 cm long in fruit. There are 4 sepals, which are 3 mm long and broadly ovate. There are 4 broadly obovate petals which are 5-7 mm long and white. There are 6 stamens where 4 of them are long. The disk glands unite into a ring. The pistil is with hairless ovary, short style and slightly lobed stigma.

The fruit is a silique, 4-6 mm long, spherical to broadly obovoid, abruptly contracted into the style and 2-valved. There are 1-6 seeds per fruit.

Ecology / Cultivation

Armoracia rusticana is suited for temperate cli­mates and grows best in full sun to partial shade in a moist, rich, heavy soil of pH 6.8. A well-drained moisture-retentive loam is preferred. Sandy soils are not suitable, and neither are shal­low clays with a hard pan. A. rusticana can only be cultivated in the tropics at altitudes above 1000 m. It easily survives severe winter conditions.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.13: Spices.