2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Food and agriculture

Leafy arugula
Leafy arugula

Rocket, also known as arugula, garden rocket, rocket salad, rugola, rucola and roquette, is a type of leaf vegetable, and although often mistaken for a sort of lettuce, is in fact a herb, being a member of the mustard family. It is rich in vitamin C and iron.

Rocket has been grown as a vegetable in the Mediterranean area since Roman times, and was considered an aphrodisiac. Before the 1990s it was usually collected in the wild and was not cultivated on a large scale and not scientifically researched until the 1990s. Today, it is cultivated in various places, especially in Veneto, and available throughout the world.


Scientifically, arugula consists of three species: Eruca sativa, Diplotaxis tenuifolia and Diplotaxis muralis.

Two main forms are found - wild rocket, with smaller, more peppery leaves, and wide leaved or cultivated rocket, with a less pronounced taste.


Rocket is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Garden Carpet.


Rocket is generally used in salads but also cooked as a vegetable with pastas or meats. In Italy, it is often used in pizzas, added just before the baking period ends or immediately afterwards, so that it can wilt in the heat. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in pesto, either in addition to basil or as a (non-traditional) substitute.


  1. ^ The term arugula (from Italian dialect arigola) is found chiefly in the U.S.; both words arugula and rocket ultimately come from Latin eruca.

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