Dozens of plant species thrive at Ewelme Watercress Beds & Local Nature Reserve, most notable of course is watercress.
Natively present across Europe and central Asia, watercress (Nasturtium officinale and Nasturtium microphyllum) is a semi-aquatic member of the cabbage family, which has probably been consumed by humans for at least 400,000 years and it was certainly harvested by the Romans, Greeks and Persians.
Watercress prefers slightly alkaline, shallow water and is often found at the beginning of chalk streams like Ewelme Brook. Naturally growing to a height usually of at least 50cm, the hollow, floating stems of the plant allow it to produce clusters of tiny white and green flowers in the air.
The tangy, peppery-flavoured leaves contain, among other things: iron, calcium, folic acid, iodine and vitamins A and C. Watercress also lays claim to being a diuretic, an expectorant, a digestive and a cancer suppresent.
Learn more about this 'superfood' at watercress.co.uk