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Wild Radish - Raphanus raphanistrum

Wild Radish - Raphanus raphanistrum

Main features

  • Grows on cultivated land and waste land

  • Found from Spring to Autumn

  • Leaves deeply pinnately lobed to pinnate, hairy and up to 60cm

  • Flower stalk can reach over 50cm with small clusters of four-petalled veined flowers

  • Flowers can be lilac, white or yellow

  • Green seed pods are pinched in between seeds and terminate in a long spike

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Wild Radish - Raphanus raphanistrum

Edible plant - novice

Other common names: Jointed Radish, White Charlock, Wild Charlock, Jointed Wild Radish, Runch, Cadlock, Wild Turnip, White Weed, Wild Kale, 


Scientific name meaning: Both names originate from the Greek word for radish: Raphane

Season Leaves from Spring, pods and roots in Summer and Autumn

Habitat - where will I find it? Cultivated land and wasteland. It is not a UK native but been present for several thousand years

Description - what does it look like? Wild  Radish emerges as a basal rosette of deeply pinnately lobed to pinnate leaves in Spring. The leaves can reach 60cm, are hairy and have a big terminal lobe. Flower stalks appear late Spring to late Summer and can reach over 50cm and have small clusters of four-petalled veined flowers. They can be lilac, white or yellow.

The green seed pods that follow in Summer and Early Autumn are pinched in between each individual seed, giving a jointed appearance, and terminate in a long thin spike

Possible lookalikes Other members of the Brassica family, but the jointed seed pods and huge leaves of Wild Radish are very distinctive. May also be confused with its subspecies, such as the deep yellow-flowered Sea Radish (Raphanus raphanistrum ssp maritimus), which are also edible

Use as a food All parts of Wild Radish are edible and all parts are hot and peppery. The leaves cn be eaten cooked or raw, but are best when young before the become bitter.

The flowers can be added to salads. 

The seeds pods can be eaten raw or cooked when immature - they become tough as they ripen. When ripe, the seed can be used as a spice or ground into a powder to make a mustard-like paste.

The root taste similar to a radish, but its thick skin needs to be removed first. Remember that digging up of a plant on common land or without the landowner's permission on private land is illegal.

Use in herbal medicine Has been used to treat rheumatism

The bulb is believed to be the most active part.

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Hazards Can cause stomach upsets in some people if large amounts are consumed

Importance to other species The flowers are important to pollinators

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!

Wild Radish - Raphanus raphanistrum - leaf
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