Armoracia rusticana (Horseradish)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Brassicaceae (Mustard)
Life cycle:perennial
  • Weedy
Habitat:sun; moist soil; roadsides, ditches, streambanks
Bloom season:May - July
Plant height:2 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Cluster type: panicle Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] White flowers, 1/3 to ½ inch across with 4 rounded petals grow at the tips of numerous, elongating racemes that form a tight, showy cluster.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of basal leaves] Basal leaves are large, long stalked, generally oblong (rarely lobed) with blades up to 12 inches long and 5 inches across, typically heart-shaped at the base. Leaf edges are wavy with small, rounded teeth, the leaf surfaces glossy and hairless.

[photo of stem leaves] Leaves become smaller, narrower and shorter stalked as they ascend the stem, the upper leaves lance-linear with little or no stalk and sometimes toothless. One or more stems emerge from the basal cluster, branching in the flower cluster.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

Pods are small and oval on ascending stalks, but mostly absent as seeds rarely mature.


Native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, horseradish was introduced as garden crop, well known for the pungent sauce made from its root. Now escaped into the natural environment, in Minnesota it is increasingly common along grassy road rights-of-way throughout the state, though likely is under-reported. When not in flower the basal leaves may resemble one of the docks, but otherwise it is not likely to be confused with other species having 4-petaled white flowers.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Northfield, Rice County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Gwen Larson - Bloomington, MN
on: 2023-05-26 21:25:44

Very healthy looking plants!

Posted by: Easton - Gary/New Duluth
on: 2023-08-30 01:24:15

Found two of these on the side of a grassland trail with no other ones in sight, knowing what they look like I did a double take and pulled out a root. I brought the root home, ground a chunk in my mortar and pestle, and took a whiff to find that it most definitely was horseradish. I was in complete disbelief when I found it, and even moreso when I came here to find out that apparently its's naturalized here? So Cool.

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