Arugula/Rocket (Eruca sativa)

Eruca vesicaria, known as Arugula in American English and Rocket in British English, stands as a vibrant testament to the rich tapestry of flavors that the Mediterranean region has to offer. This edible annual plant, a member of the Brassicaceae family, has become a culinary sensation appreciated for its fresh, tart, bitter, and peppery taste. Join us on a gastronomic exploration as we unravel the captivating story of Arugula, its diverse aliases, and the cultural significance it holds in the world of leafy greens.

Botanical Brilliance

Arugula, scientifically classified as Eruca vesicaria or Eruca sativa Mill., is native to the Mediterranean region, flourishing from Morocco and Portugal in the west to Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, and Turkey in the east. Its strikingly serrated leaves and delicate white flowers add a touch of elegance to both gardens and plates alike.

A Symphony of Names

This versatile leafy green goes by various names across the globe. In Britain, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, and New Zealand, it is commonly referred to as “garden rocket.” The Mediterranean region has its own linguistic variations, with names like “ruchetta,” “rucola,” “rucoli,” “rugula,” “colewort,” and “roquette” contributing to the cultural mosaic surrounding this culinary gem.

Culinary Delight

Arugula has earned its place on the plates of gourmands worldwide, thanks to its distinctive flavor profile. Whether enjoyed in salads, sandwiches, or as a pizza topping, its peppery kick adds a delightful complexity to various dishes. The versatility of Arugula extends beyond its culinary applications; it can also be blended into pestos or used to enhance the flavor of soups and sauces.

From Garden to Table

As a salad vegetable, Arugula not only tantalizes the taste buds but also offers a wealth of nutritional benefits. Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and calcium, it contributes to a well-rounded and health-conscious culinary experience. Its adaptability to various climates makes it a prized addition to home gardens and agricultural landscapes alike.


Embark on a culinary journey with Arugula, a leafy green that transcends borders and elevates the dining experience with its bold and peppery character. Whether you know it as Rocket or Arugula, this Mediterranean treasure invites you to savor the essence of its native soil. Stay tuned for more insights into the world of botanical wonders on our herbarium blog.

Further Reading