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Overview

Brief Summary

The roots of Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae=Cruciferae), are crushed, minced, or powdered to produce the familiar spicy off-white condiment. As in other mustards, the pungent compounds are isothiocyanates. Horseradish is a perennial herb with a long, yellowish buff taproot bearing long-stalked ovate or oblong leaves (30 to 60 cm in length) with coarsely toothed, wavy margins. The species probably originated in southeastern Europe and western Asia, but has long been widely cultivated in Europe as well as North America and the hilly regions of India.

(Vaughan and Geissler 1997)

Horseradish has been cultivated for its root for over 2,000 years. Today, commercial production occurs mainly in North America (led by the State of Illinois; Walters and Wahle 2010) and Europe. Armoracia rusticana is propagated exclusively vegetatively. Like many vegetatively propagated crops, cultivated A. rusticana plants are generally sterile. This species is not known to occur in the wild, although the two other species in the genus, A. macrocarpa and A. sisymbrioides do occur in the wild and reproduce by seed.

(Sampliner et al. 2009)

Production from Horseradish roots of peroxidase (a heme-containing enzyme that utilizes hydrogen peroxide to oxidize a wide variety of organic and inorganic compounds) occurs on a relatively large scale because of the commercial uses of the enzyme, e.g., as a component of clinical diagnostic kits and for immunoassays (Veitch 2004).

  • Sampliner, D. and A. Miller. 2009. Ethnobotany of Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, Brassicaceae) and Its Wild Relatives (Armoracia spp.): Reproductive Biology and Local Uses in Their Native Ranges. Economic Botany 63(3): 303-313.
  • Vaughan, J.G. and C.A. Geissler. 1997. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants (revised and updated edition). Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Veitch, N.C. 2004.Horseradish peroxidase: a modern view of a classic enzyme. Phytochemistry 65: 249-259.
  • Walters, S.A. and E.A. Wahle. 2010. Horseradish production in Illinois. HortTechnology 20(2): 267-276.
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Comprehensive Description

Description

This perennial wildflower develops a rosette of basal leaves, from which there develops one or more flowering stalks about 1¾-4' tall. The blades of the basal leaves are ½-2' long and 1½-6" across; they are broadly oblong-elliptic in shape and finely crenate-serrate along their margins. The petioles of the basal leaves are often as long as the blades. The basal leaves are widely spreading and rather floppy; their margins often undulate up-and-down. The stems of Horseradish are light to medium green and glabrous. Alternate leaves become smaller in size as they ascend these stems; their blades are 1-6" long and ¼-2" across. The blades of alternate leaves are narrowly elliptic to broadly oblong-lanceolate in shape and their margins are coarsely crenate-serrate to shallowly pinnatifid; they are sessile or with short petioles. The upper blade surfaces of both basal and alternate leaves are medium to dark green and glabrous, while their lower surfaces are a more pale shade of green and glabrous below. The central stem and upper axillary stems terminate in either racemes or panicles of flowers about 4-16" in length. The flowers bloom toward the apex of each raceme (or branch of a panicle), while seedpods develop below. Each flower spans about 1/3" (8 mm.) across, consisting of 4 white petals, 4 light green sepals, 6 stamens, and a pistil with a short style. The petals are about twice the length of the sepals. The ascending pedicels are ¼-¾" in length, light green, and glabrous, becoming longer as the seedpods develop. The central stalks and branches of the racemes and panicles are light green and glabrous. The blooming period can occur from mid-spring to mid-summer and lasts about 2 months. The flowers are replaced by cylindrical seedpods up to ¼" (6 mm.) long; each seedpod can contain up to 8 seeds. The root system consists of a stout taproot and stout rhizomes. Clonal colonies of plants are often produced.
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Distribution

Range Description

A. rusticana occurs in Latvia; Lithuania; Estonia; Kaliningrad; east, north, northwest, south and central European Russia; Belarus; Moldova; and Ukraine (including Crimea) (Smekalova 2008).
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Range and Habitat in Illinois

The non-native Horseradish is occasional in most areas of Illinois, except in the SE section of the state, where it is rare or absent (see Distribution Map). This plant was introduced into North America from Europe during colonial times; it is native to SE Europe and parts of SW Asia. Habitats include streambanks, ditches, fence rows, low areas along roads and railroads, abandoned fields, vacant lots, disturbed open woodlands, and waste areas. Horseradish is still cultivated in gardens as a culinary herb. It is usually found in disturbed areas.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Herbs with fusiform or cylindric, fleshy or woody roots. Stems 50-120(-200) cm tall. Basal leaves few; petiole to 60 cm, broadly expanded at base; leaf blade broadly oblong, oblong-lanceolate, or ovate, (10-)20-45(-60) × (3-)5-12(-17) cm, coarsely crenate or rarely pinnatifid. Lower and middle cauline leaves shortly petiolate, pinnatifid or pinnatisect, with oblong to linear-oblong lobes, smaller than basal leaves; upper cauline leaves sessile or shortly petiolate, linear to linear-lanceolate, base cuneate or attenuate, margin serrate, crenate, or rarely entire. Fruiting pedicels ascending, slender, 0.8-2 cm. Sepals ovate, 2-4 mm. Petals obovate or oblanceolate, 5-7(-8) mm; claw to 1.5 mm. Filaments 1-2.5 mm; anthers ovate, 0.5-0.8 mm. Ovules 8-12 per ovary. Mature fruit rarely produced, ovate, oblong, or suborbicular, 4-6 mm, few seeded; style obsolete or to 0.5 mm; stigma capitate, well developed. Seeds not seen. Fl. May-Jul. 2n = 32.
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Size

40-150 cm

  • Wegweiser durch die Natur, Die Tiere und Pflanzen Mitteleuropas, Komet Verlag (Januar 2006), ISBN: 978-3898365512
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Armoracia sativa Bernhardi; Cochlearia armoracia Linnaeus; Nasturtium armoracia (Linnaeus) Fries; Rorippa armoracia (Linnaeus) A. S. Hitchcock; R. rusticana (G. Gaertner et al.) Godron.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It grows along riverbanks and in other damp places. Ruderal plants are mainly confined to secondary anthropogenic habitats; for example, near arable land, in urban areas and in rural gardens.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Range and Habitat in Illinois

The non-native Horseradish is occasional in most areas of Illinois, except in the SE section of the state, where it is rare or absent (see Distribution Map). This plant was introduced into North America from Europe during colonial times; it is native to SE Europe and parts of SW Asia. Habitats include streambanks, ditches, fence rows, low areas along roads and railroads, abandoned fields, vacant lots, disturbed open woodlands, and waste areas. Horseradish is still cultivated in gardens as a culinary herb. It is usually found in disturbed areas.
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Habitat & Distribution

Cultivated and naturalized. Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Jiangsu, Liaoning [native to Europe; cultivated and naturalized elsewhere].
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Associations

Faunal Associations

The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract small bees, flies, small butterflies, and probably other insects. Several leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae) have been observed to feed on Horseradish, specifically
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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / spot causer
pycnidium of Ascochyta coelomycetous anamorph of Ascochyta armoraciae causes spots on live leaf of Armoracia rusticana
Remarks: season: 7-10

Foodplant / open feeder
gregarious larva of Athalia rosae grazes on leaf (underside) of Armoracia rusticana
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
Cercospora dematiaceous anamorph of Cercospora armoraciae causes spots on live leaf of Armoracia rusticana
Remarks: season: 9-10

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Dendryphion dematiaceous anamorph of Dendryphion comosum is saprobic on dead Armoracia rusticana
Remarks: season: 1-12

Foodplant / parasite
Erysiphe cruciferarum parasitises live Armoracia rusticana

Foodplant / sap sucker
adult of Eurydema oleracea sucks sap of Armoracia rusticana

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial, scattered on in small groups, thinly subiculate perithecium of Hydropisphaera arenula is saprobic on dead stem of Armoracia rusticana
Remarks: season: 1-12

Foodplant / pathogen
Leptosphaeria maculans infects and damages live Armoracia rusticana

Foodplant / parasite
colony of sporangium of Peronospora parasitica parasitises live Armoracia rusticana

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Phaedon cochleariae grazes on live leaf of Armoracia rusticana
Remarks: season: -early 9

Foodplant / shot hole causer
amphigenous colony of Ramularia hyphomycetous anamorph of Ramularia armoraciae causes shot holes on live leaf of Armoracia rusticana
Remarks: season: 7-10
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / spot causer
punctiform, pallid, central pycnidium of Septoria coelomycetous anamorph of Septoria armoraciae causes spots on live leaf of Armoracia rusticana
Remarks: season: 7-10

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Thielaviopsis dematiaceous anamorph of Thielaviopsis basicola infects and damages Armoracia rusticana

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Torula dematiaceous anamorph of Torula herbarum is saprobic on dead Armoracia rusticana

Foodplant / pathogen
Turnip Mosaic virus infects and damages live, stunted leaf of Armoracia rusticana
Remarks: season: Summer

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Armoracia rusticana

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Armoracia rusticana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 8
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Smekalova, T. & Maslovky, O.

Reviewer/s
Bilz, M., Kell, S.P. & Nieto, A.

Contributor/s
Kell, S.P. & Eliáš, P.

Justification

European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
EU 27 regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)

Armoracia rusticana is widely distributed and the population is stable to increasing. It often occurs as a ruderal plant in anthropogenic habitats and faces no major threats. It is therefore assessed as Least Concern.


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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Population

Population
Common throughout its range with stable to increasing populations.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats to this species.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The genus Armoracia is listed in Annex I of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as part of the Brassica complex.

EURISCO reports 102 germplasm accessions of A. rusticana held by European genebanks; however, only four of these are recorded as of wild or weedy origin. These wild accessions originate from Croatia (one), Denmark (two) and Ukraine (one) (EURISCO Catalogue 2010). Further germplasm collection and duplicated ex situ storage is needed to ensure that wild germplasm is available for use in plant breeding programmes.
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These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full or partial sun, moist conditions, and fertile soil containing loam or silt-loam. Because of its underground rhizomes, Horseradish can spread aggressively.
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Wikipedia

Horseradish

This article is about the plant. For the book by Lemony Snicket, see Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid. For Horseradish tree, see Moringa oleifera.
Sections of roots of the horseradish plant
Foliage of the horseradish plant

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia) is a perennial plant of the Brassicaceae family (which also includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbage). The plant is probably native to southeastern Europe and western Asia. It is now popular around the world. It grows up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) tall, and is cultivated primarily for its large, white, tapered root.

The intact horseradish root has hardly any aroma. When cut or grated, however, enzymes from the now-broken plant cells break down sinigrin (a glucosinolate) to produce allyl isothiocyanate (mustard oil), which irritates the mucous membranes of the sinuses and eyes. Grated mash should be used immediately or preserved in vinegar for best flavor. Once exposed to air or heat it will begin to lose its pungency, darken in color, and become unpleasantly bitter tasting over time.

History[edit]

Horseradish, probably indigenous in temperate Eastern Europe, where its Slavic name chren seemed to Augustin Pyramus de Candolle more primitive than any Western synonym. Horseradish has been cultivated since antiquity.[1] According to Greek mythology, the Delphic Oracle told Apollo that the horseradish was worth its weight in gold.[2] Horseradish was known in Egypt in 1500 BC.[citation needed] Dioscorides listed horseradish equally as Persicon sinapi (Diosc. 2.186) or Sinapi persicum (Diosc. 2.168),[3] which Pliny's Natural History reported as Persicon napy;[4] Cato discusses the plant in his treatises on agriculture, and a mural in Pompeii shows the plant. Horseradish is probably the plant mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History under the name of Amoracia, and recommended by him for its medicinal qualities, and possibly the Wild Radish, or raphanos agrios of the Greeks. The early Renaissance herbalists Pietro Andrea Mattioli and John Gerard showed it under Raphanus.[5] Though its modern Linnaean genus Armoracia was first applied to it by Heinrich Bernhard Ruppius, in his Flora Jenensis, 1745, Linnaeus called it Coclearia armoracia.

Both root and leaves were used as a medicine during the Middle Ages and the root was used as a condiment on meats in Germany, Scandinavia, and Britain. It was introduced to North America during European colonialization;[6] both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson mention horseradish in garden accounts.[7]

William Turner mentions horseradish as Red Cole in his "Herbal" (1551–1568), but not as a condiment. In The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes (1597), John Gerard describes it under the name of raphanus rusticanus, stating that it occurs wild in several parts of England. After referring to its medicinal uses, he says:

[T]he Horse Radish stamped with a little vinegar put thereto, is commonly used among the Germans for sauce to eat fish with and such like meats as we do mustard.[8]

The word horseradish is attested in English from the 1590s. It combines the word horse (formerly used as an adjective meaning "strong, large, or coarse") and the word radish.[9] Despite the name, this plant is poisonous to horses.

Cultivation[edit]

Horseradish is perennial in hardiness zones 2–9 and can be grown as an annual in other zones, although not as successfully as in zones with both a long growing season and winter temperatures cold enough to ensure plant dormancy. After the first frost in the autumn kills the leaves, the root is dug and divided. The main root is harvested and one or more large offshoots of the main root are replanted to produce next year's crop. Horseradish left undisturbed in the garden spreads via underground shoots and can become invasive. Older roots left in the ground become woody, after which they are no longer culinarily useful, although older plants can be dug and re-divided to start new plants.[6][10] The early season leaves can be distinctively different, asymmetric spiky, before the mature typical flat broad leaves start to be developed.

Pests and diseases[edit]

Widely introduced by accident, "cabbageworms", the larvae of Pieris rapae, the Small White Butterfly, are a common caterpillar pest in horseradish. The adults are white butterflies with black spots on the forewings that are commonly seen flying around plants during the day. The caterpillars are velvety green with faint yellow stripes running lengthwise down the back and sides. Full grown caterpillars are about 1-inch (25 mm) in length. They move sluggishly when prodded. They overwinter in green pupal cases. Adults start appearing in gardens after the last frost and are a problem through the remainder of the growing season. There are three to five overlapping generations a year. Mature caterpillars chew large, ragged holes in the leaves leaving the large veins intact. Handpicking is an effective control strategy in home gardens.[11]

Culinary uses[edit]

Allyl isothiocyanate is the pungent ingredient in fresh horseradish sauce.

Cooks use the terms "horseradish" or "prepared horseradish" to refer to the grated root of the horseradish plant mixed with vinegar. Prepared horseradish is white to creamy-beige in color. It will keep for months refrigerated but eventually will darken, indicating it is losing flavour and should be replaced. The leaves of the plant, while edible, are not commonly eaten, and are referred to as "horseradish greens", which have a flavor of root.

Horseradish sauce[edit]

Beet horseradish having the O-U kosher certification
A bottle of Heinz horseradish sauce

Horseradish sauce made from grated horseradish root and vinegar is a popular condiment in the United Kingdom and in Poland.[citation needed] In the UK it is usually served with roast beef, often as part of a traditional Sunday roast, but can be used in a number of other dishes also, including sandwiches or salads. A variation of horseradish sauce, which in some cases may substitute the vinegar with other products like lemon juice or citric acid, is known in Germany as Tafelmeerrettich. Also popular in the UK is Tewkesbury mustard, a blend of mustard and grated horseradish originating in medieval times and mentioned by Shakespeare (Falstaff says: "his wit's as thick as Tewkesbury Mustard" in Henry IV Part II[12]). A very similar mustard, called Krensenf or Meerrettichsenf, is popular in Austria and parts of Eastern Germany.

In the U.S., the term "horseradish sauce" refers to grated horseradish combined with mayonnaise or salad dressing. Prepared horseradish is a common ingredient in Bloody Mary cocktails and in cocktail sauce, and is used as a sauce or sandwich spread. Horseradish cream is a mixture of horseradish and sour cream and is served alongside au jus for a prime rib dinner.

The distinctive pungent taste of horseradish is from the compound allyl isothiocyanate. Upon crushing the flesh of horseradish, the enzyme myrosinase is released and acts on the glucosinolates sinigrin and gluconasturtiin, which are precursors to the allyl isothiocyanate. The allyl isothiocyanate serves the plant as a natural defense against herbivores. Since allyl isothiocyanate is harmful to the plant itself, it is stored in the harmless form of the glucosinolate, separate from the myrosinase enzyme. When an animal chews the plant, the allyl isothiocyanate is released, repelling the animal.[13] Allyl isothiocyanate is an unstable compound, degrading over the course of days at 37 °C.[14] Because of this instability, horseradish sauces lack the pungency of the freshly crushed roots.

Vegetable[edit]

In Central and Eastern Europe horseradish is called khren (in various spellings like kren) in many Slavic languages, in Austria, in parts of Germany (where the other German name Meerrettich isn't used), in North-East Italy, and in Yiddish (כריין translitered as khren).

There are two varieties of khreyn. "Red" khreyn is mixed with red beet (beetroot) and "white" khreyn contains no beet. It is popular in Ukraine (under the name of хрін, khrin), in Poland (under the name of chrzan), in Lithuania (krienai) in the Czech Republic (křen), in Russia (хрен, khren), in Hungary (torma), in Romania (hrean), in Lithuania (krienai), in Bulgaria (хрян, khryan), and in Slovakia (under the name of chren). Having this on the table is a part of Christian Easter and Jewish Passover tradition in Eastern and Central Europe.

  • In parts of Southern Germany like Franconia, "Kren" is an essential component of the traditional wedding dinner. It is served with cooked beef and a dip made from lingonberry to balance the slight hotness of the Kren.
  • In Poland, a variety with red beet is called ćwikła z chrzanem or simply ćwikła.
  • In Ashkenazi European Jewish cooking beet horseradish is commonly served with gefilte fish.
  • In Transylvania, Red beet with horseradish is also used as a salad served with lamb dishes at Easter called sfecla cu hrean and other Romanian regions.
  • In Serbia, ren is an essential condiment with cooked meat and freshly roasted suckling pig.
  • In Croatia, freshly grated horseradish (Croatian: Hren) is often eaten with boiled ham or beef.
  • In Slovenia, and in the adjacent Italian regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia and nearby Italian region of Veneto, Horseradish (often grated and mixed with sour cream, vinegar, hard-boiled eggs, or apples) is also a traditional Easter dish.
  • Further west in the Italian regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, and Piedmont, it is called "barbaforte (strong beard)" and is a traditional accompaniment to bollito misto; while in north-eastern regions like Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, it is still called "kren" or "cren". In the southern region of Basilicata it is known as "rafano" and used for the preparation of the so-called "rafanata", a main course made of horseradish, eggs, cheese and sausage.[15]
  • Horseradish is also used as a main ingredient for soups. In the Polish region of Silesia, horseradish soup is a common Easter Day dish.[16]

Relation to wasabi[edit]

The Japanese condiment wasabi, although traditionally prepared from the wasabi plant, is now usually made with horseradish due to the scarcity of the wasabi plant.[17] The Japanese botanical name for horseradish is seiyōwasabi (セイヨウワサビ, 西洋山葵?), or "Western wasabi". Both plants are members of the family Brassicaceae.

Nutritional and biomedical uses[edit]

Compounds found in horseradish have been widely studied for a plethora of health benefits.[18][19] Horseradish contains volatile oils, notably mustard oil, which has antibacterial properties due to the presence of allyl isothiocyanate.[13] Fresh, the plant also contains average 79.31 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of raw horseradish.[20]

The enzyme horseradish peroxidase (HRP), found in the plant, is used extensively in molecular biology and biochemistry.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ J.W.Courter and A.M. Rhodes, "Historical notes on horseradish" Economic Botany 12.2 April=May1969pp156ff
  2. ^ Murray, Michael T.; Lara Pizzorno; Joseph E. Pizzorno (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria Books. ISBN 978-0743480529. 
  3. ^ Early Modern translators of Dioscurides offered various names.
  4. ^ Pliny on Thlaspi or Persicon napy H.N. i. 37.113.
  5. ^ Courter, J. W.; Rhodes, A. M. (April–June 1969). "Historical notes on horseradish". Economic Botany 23 (2): 156–164. doi:10.1007/BF02860621. JSTOR 4253036. 
  6. ^ a b Pleasant, Barbara (Oct–November 2003). "Horseradish". Mother Earth News. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  7. ^ Ann Leighton, American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century: 'For Use or Delight' , 1976, p.431.
  8. ^ Phillips, Henry (1822). History of Cultivated Vegetables. H. Colburn and Co. p. 255. ISBN 1-4369-9965-0. 
  9. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Online Etymology Dictionary: horseradish". Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "How To Grow Horseradish". Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  11. ^ Suzanne Wold-Burkness and Jeff Hahn. "Caterpillar Pests of Cole Crops in Home Gardens". University of Minnesota. Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  12. ^ "Henry IV, Part II, Scene 4". opensourceshakespeare.org. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
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This species has been widely cultivated for some 2000 years for its fleshy roots, which are grated to produce the pungent horseradish sauce. The plant is also a weed that is very difficult to eradicate.
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