Sisymbrium irio

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Sisymbrium irio
Sisymbrium irio flower.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Sisymbrium
S. irio
Binomial name
Sisymbrium irio

Sisymbrium irio, the London rocket,[1] is a plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual herb exceeding three feet in height with open, slender stem branches. The flowers are small with four pale yellow petals. The basal leaves are broad and often lobed, while the upper leaves are linear in shape and up to four inches long. The fruit is a long narrow cylindrical silique which stays green when ripe. The younger pods overtop the flowers. When dried the fruit has small red oblong seeds. The common name "London rocket" allegedly comes from its abundance after the Great Fire of London in 1666.[2] However, Dr E J Salisbury, in his study of the bombsites of London after the Great Fire of 1940, "failed to find a single specimen, nor has any other reliable observer reported it", according to R. S. R. Fitter.[3][4]

This species is considered a weed in the Southwestern United States and other regions where it has been introduced.[5]


The leaves, seeds, and flowers are edible, with a spicy flavor similar to cultivated rocket.[6] London rocket is used in the Middle East to treat coughs and chest congestion, to relieve rheumatism, to detoxify the liver and spleen, and to reduce swelling and clean wounds.[7] The Bedouin use the leaf of London Rocket as a tobacco substitute.[8] The cured pods can be placed in a basket with live coals and shaken until the pods are parched, then ground into meal and made into soup or stew.[9]


  1. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  2. ^ A.R. Clapham; E.F. Warburg; T.G. Tutin (1968). Flora of the British Isles. ISBN 9780521046565.
  3. ^ Fitter, R. S. R. (1945). London's Natural History. London: Collins. p. 231. ISBN 1-870630-69-6.
  4. ^ The Ecology of Transportation, p. 11, at Google Books
  5. ^ Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (2019-03-11). "Naturalists scour border to draw attention to habitat, not migrant crisis". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  6. ^ "edible weeds | Savor the Southwest". Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  7. ^ Lev, Efraima (2003) "Sisymbrium irio" Medicinal substances in Jerusalem from early times to the present day Archaeopress, Oxford, UK, p. 62, ISBN 978-1-84171-490-5
  8. ^ Bailey, Clinton and Danin, Avinoam (1981) "Bedouin Plant Utilization in Sinai and the Negev" Economic Botany 35(2): pp. 145-162, p. 158
  9. ^ Warnock, Barton H. (1977) "Wildflowers of the Davis Mountains and the Marathon Basin, Texas", p. 111


  • Everitt, J.H.; Lonard, R.L.; Little, C.R. (2007). Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. ISBN 0-89672-614-2
  • Ray, Jarren et al. (2005) "Moisture and Temperature Requirements for London Rocket (Sisymbrium irio) Emergence" Weed Science 53(2): pp. 187–192
  • Fitter, R. S. R. (1945). London's Natural History. London: Collins. p. 231. ISBN 1-870630-69-6.