by Stephen Mifsud
   10 Dec 2023      ()
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Nasturtium officinale   (Watercress)

Nasturtium officinale  (BRASSICACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Nov-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Nasturtium officinale - datasheet created on Nov-2007. Retrieved from on 10-Dec-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Nasturtium officinaleR. Br.
Published in Hort. Kew. ed. 2, 4: 111 (1812)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Nasturtium aquaticum Wahlenb.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Brassicaceae Juss. (=Cruciferae) (The Mustard or Cress Family)
47 species from the Brassicaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :


Maltese name(s) :

Krexxuni, Sija

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE ( prostate plants with flowers close to the ground )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Protected by law: Schedule III of [S.L. 549.44] (Conservation requires the designation of SAC)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

February – May

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :

officinale: Commercially or 'officially' used and sold in shops for medicinal or healing applications. This epithet was given in the past to plants with well-known medicinal properties. (Latin origin )

Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Wet places
Preferred habitat in Malta: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Botanical Description: Perennial 10-100 cm with fleshy, hollow stems, procumbent and rooting at the lower nodes, upwards ascending, sometimes floating; more or less glabrous. Leaves petiolate, often auriculate, pinnate, with 2-9 pairs of lobes, which are rounded to broadly elliptical and more or less entire. Pedicels 8-12 mm, patent to somewhat reflexed. Petals 3.5-5(-6) mm, white to pale purplish, about twice as long as the sepals. Fruit 10-18(-24) x 2-2.7(-3) mm, straight or curved; style 0.5-1.8(-2) mm. Seeds in 2 distinct rows in each loculus, with c. 25 polygonal depressions on each face.
Chromosome number: 2n=32
Distributional range: Europe, northwards to Scotland, S. Sweden and to c. 55° N. in Russia
Native region outside Europe: doubtfully native in Az

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
All Europe except Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and former USSR, Svalbard archipelago
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
AE(G) Ag Al Ar Au(A) dAz(C F G J L M P S T) Be(B) Bl(I M N) Br Bu Cg Co Cr Cs Ct Cy Da Eg Es Ga(F) Ge Gr Hb(E) He Ho Hs(A S) Hu IJ It Li Lu Ma Md(M P) Mk Mo Po Rf Rm Sa Si(M S) Sk Sl Sn Sr Su Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K U) [nCa(C F G P T)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (10 images)
   Nasturtium officinale   -   Image Code: NSTOF-0.
   Nasturtium officinale   -   Image Code: NSTOF-1.
   Nasturtium officinale   -   Image Code: NSTOF-2.
   Nasturtium officinale   -   Image Code: NSTOF-3.
   Nasturtium officinale   -   Image Code: NSTOF-4.
   Nasturtium officinale   -   Image Code: NSTOF-5.
   Nasturtium officinale   -   Image Code: NSTOF-6.
   Nasturtium officinale   -   Image Code: NSTOF-7.
   Nasturtium officinale   -   Image Code: NSTOF-8.
   Nasturtium officinale   -   Image Code: NSTOF-9.

Buy Seeds and Docs
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