Cochlearia armoracia Linn. Cruciferae. Horseradish. Red Cole.
Europe. This well-known condimental plant is indigenous to eastern Europe from the Caspian through Russia and Poland to Finland and is now spontaneous in the United States. Both the leaves and roots were eaten in Germany during the Middle Ages but their use was not common in England until a much later period. This plant cannot be identified with certainty with the armoracia of the Romans. If it be the armoracia of Palladius, which is a wild plant transferred to the garden, it is very curious that its use is not mentioned by Apicius in his work on cookery, of the same century. Zanonius deems horseradish to be the draba of Dioscorides. It seems to be the raphanus of Albertus Magnus, who lived in the thirteenth century; he speaks of the plant as wild and domesticated, but its culture then was probably for medicinal purposes alone, as indicated by him. Its culture in Italy, in 1563, is implied by Ruellius under the name armoracia but Castor Durante, 1617, does not describe it. In Germany, its culture as a condimental plant is mentioned by Fuchsius, 1542, and by later writers. In 1587, Dalechamp speaks of its culture in Germany but does not mention it in France. Lyte, 1586, mentions the wild plant and its uses as a condiment in England but does not imply culture. Horseradish, though known in England as red cole in 1568, is not mentioned by Turner as used in food, nor is it noticed by Boorde, 1542, in his chapter on edible roots in the Dyetary of Helth. Gerarde speaks of it as used by the Germans, and Coles, in Adam in Eden, states that the root sliced thin and mixed with vinegar is eaten as a sauce with meat as among the Germans. In the United States, horseradish is in general cultivation for market purposes. It was included by McMahon, 1806, in his list of garden esculents.
Cochlearia danica Linn.
Northern and Arctic regions. This species is employed as a salad plant.
Cochlearia macrocarpa Waldst. & Kit.
Hungary and Transylvania. The root may be used as a horseradish but it is less acrid.
Cochlearia officinalis Linn. Scurvy Grass. Spoonwort.
Arctic regions. This species is used occasionally as a cress and is cultivated in gardens for that purpose. It is a common plant in some parts of Scotland, and Lightfoot says "it is eaten in sallads as an antiscorbutic." It serves as a scurvy grass in Alaska.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.