Garden cress Facts

Garden cress Facts
Garden cress is herbaceous plant that belongs to the mustard family. It probably originates from Egypt and Middle East, but it can be found around the world today. Garden cress grows along the roads, in the wastelands, mountain meadows and gardens. It is part of human diet since the antique times. Garden cress is still popular and frequently consumed type of leafy vegetables in Europe, especially in Scandinavia, Netherlands, England and France (centers of the garden cress cultivation).
Interesting Garden cress Facts:
Garden cress has erect, bluish-green, multi-branched stem that can reach 8 to 24 inches in height.
Basal leaves of garden cress are compound-lobed and equipped with long petioles. Leaves on the upper parts of the stem are usually pinnately lobed. Some varieties of garden cress have curly leaves.
Garden cress produces white or light pink flowers arranged in multi-branched terminal clusters. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Garden cress blooms from June to August. Flowers attract insects which are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of garden cress is small pod filled with 2 seed.
Garden cress propagates via seed that starts to germinate 2 to 4 days after sowing. Garden cress can thrive on the soil of poor quality, but it requires regular watering for the successful growth.
Garden cress is fast-growing plant. Edible shoots can be harvested one or two weeks after planting.
Garden cress is rarely mixed with other types of plants because it emits strong odor that negatively affects growth of the nearby plants.
Garden cress can be cultivated in the pots filled with water and minerals (hydroponics), or using only moist cotton wool or paper towels (which hold the plant upright).
Garden cress is valuable source of vitamins K, C, A, B2 and B9 and minerals such as manganese, potassium, iron and magnesium.
Garden cress is mostly consumed as leafy vegetables. Stem and leaves has peppery, tangy flavor and they are often used for the preparation of salads, sandwiches and dishes made of cheese or eggs.
Seeds of garden cress are also edible, but they need to be cooked or roasted before consumption. Seeds of garden cress are excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids.
Garden cress should be consumed in moderation because it prevents absorption of iodine by thyroid gland and can induce hypothyroidism. It should be also avoided during the pregnancy because it stimulates uterine contractions and can induce abortion.
Garden cress can regulate menstrual cycle, increase production of milk in breastfeeding women and improve libido. Seeds are used to purify blood, stimulate appetite, boost immune system and memory and in treatment of dysentery, diarrhea, sore throat, asthma and cough.
Garden cress completes its life cycle in one (annual) or two (biennial) years.

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