Eruca sativa ‘Uber’ | ‘Arugula’, ‘Rocket’ | 50 seeds
‘Uber’ is a leafy and tasty cultivar of Eruca sativa (syn. Brassica eruca, Eruca eruca, Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa, Raphanus eruca), an annual herbaceous plant with a bitter, peppery flavour which is part of the Brassicaceae family. Native to large parts of the Mediterranean region, the species/subspecies is known by the informal names ‘Arugula’, ‘Colewort’, ‘Eruca’, ‘Garden Rocket’, ‘Gargeer’, ‘Rocket’, ‘Rocket Salad’, ‘Roquette’, ‘Rucola’, ‘Rucoli’ and ‘Rugula’. It’s now naturalised to regions outside of the Mediterranean, including parts of Europe, India and North America.
The species Eruca sativa can reach up to a metre tall and is similar in appearance to a lettuce, albeit one with longer leaves and a more erect growth habit than normal. Small, cream-tan-whitish flowers bloom between late spring and early autumn, growing to roughly four centimetres in diameter and accompanied by small fruit, up to approximately three and half centimetres in length. As well as the plant’s serrated, deep-green leaves, the fruit and the seeds which they contain are both edible.
A popular salad and cooked vegetable since at least the time of the Romans, ‘Rocket’ is both tasty and rich in potassium and vitamin C. It’s also an ingredient in an alcoholic liqueur and was historically believed to be an aphrodisiac or otherwise associated with sexual potency; at one point during the Middle Ages it was forbidden grow the plant in or around monasteries, perhaps for that reason! The species is also a food source for the larvae of moths, including the ‘Garden Carpet Moth’.
‘Rocket’ tends to grow on dry, disturbed ground (for example, wasteland), provided it is mildly acidic to mildly alkaline and in USDA Hardiness Zones 6-9. It’s an easy vegetable to grow from seed, provided you can maintain a minimum germination temperature of around 12°C. Cover the seed with a fine layer of soil and wait for germination, which should occur after up to roughly one week from planting. Space the plants at least thirty centimetres apart to allow them to reach their full potential, watering as the soil begins to dry. Once the seedlings start to toughen up a little, slowly introduce to full sun. Note that this species can become invasive if allowed to grow without restriction!
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced