Diplotaxis tenuifolia is a species of flowering plant in the mustard family known by the common name perennial wall-rocket. This plant is native to Europe and Western Asia. It can be found throughout much of the temperate world where it has naturalized.
This is an erect mustard-like plant with branching stems that may exceed half a meter in height. It grows in clumps on the ground in a variety of habitats and is a common weed of roadsides and disturbed areas. It has long leaves which may be lobed or not. The foliage is aromatic when crushed. Atop the branches of the stem are bright yellow flowers with four rounded petals each about a centimeter long. The fruit is a straight, flat silique up to five centimeters long.
Perennial wall rocket, wild rocket, sand rocket, Lincoln weed, white rocket; seeds sometimes marketed as "wild Italian arugula" or "sylvetta arugula".
Wild rocket is high in ascorbic acid, carotenoids, polyphenols and glucosinolates (above all glucosativin and glucoerucin, which are the cause of the pungent flavour). When the leaves are chewed glucosinolates, through the enzyme myrosinase, are metabolized in isothyocyanates and indoles.
Baby leaf rocket is cultivated worldwide as a salad leaf. In addition to D. tenuifolia, the annual Eruca sativa is grown and marketed under the same common names. These leaves are usually mixed with other baby leaf crops to form a mesclun-style salad. These crops have become popular due to their distinctive taste and texture in salads.
Leaves preserved at 5 °C show a loss of ascorbic acid and glucosinolates and an increase in polyphenols (then preservation after harvesting may be nutritionally good, since for example sinapic acid and ferulic acid have anti-cancer effects and umbelliferone is an anti-oxidant).
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- Ramos-Bueno RP, Rincón-Cervera MA, González-Fernández MJ, Guil-Guerrero JL (June 2016). "Phytochemical Composition and Antitumor Activities of New Salad Greens: Rucola (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) and Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta)". Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 71 (2): 197–203. doi:10.1007/s11130-016-0544-7. PMID 27143140.
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