History, Folklore


Anglo Saxons distinguished it as ea-cerse or wille-cerse, and conquered as a favourite more rapidly than common sea kale. Phillip Milner gave directions for propagating watercress in early editions of 'Gardener's Dictionary' and spoke of it as a salad and effective against scurvy. Commercial production began in 1808, in Kent then London, which lead to its widespread distribution in wild. Cultivators knew of 3 types which had to wait a long time for botanical recognition, and were known by many scientific names.


Often Mentioned with delight in early 12th century Irish poems.

"Well Of Treaigh Dhá Bhan"
Lovely is your pure topped cress


"Blackthorn little thorny one
Black little sloe bush
Watercress little green topped one
On the brink of a blackbird's well"

Collated by James M. Burton as part of H.N.D. course at Pencoed
Agricultural College. Taxanomical information correct as of 06:06:97.