WATERCRESS
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Nasturtium officinale  W.T. Aiton
[=Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum  (L. ) Hayek]
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: Floating on the surface of water
Family: Brassicaceae - Mustard Family
Flowering Period:   April, May, June, July, August, September,October
Stems: Floating or creeping, up to 3 feet long, branching, glabrous; floating roots descend from nodes and take root upon reaching soil.
Leaves: Alternate, stalked, odd-pinnately compound; leaflets 3-11, ovate to nearly circular, .25 to 2.5 inches long, less than 1 inch wide, glabrous, fleshy; margins entire or shallowly toothed; tips blunt; terminal leaflet largest.
Inflorescences: Racemes, short, terminal, elongate in fruit.
Flowers: 4-parted, less than .25 inch wide; sepals oblong-ascending; petals white, twice as long as sepals; stamens 6, 4 long, 2 short, with nectar secreting glands at bases.
Fruits: Pods, linear, .5 to 1.25 inch long, stalked, spreading or curving slightly upward; seeds in 2 rows, nearly round, flattened, brown.
Habitat: Still or slowly flowing, shallow water of springs, spring-fed streams, ditches, and lakes.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Origin: Watercress is an aquatic plant native to Europe, where it is cultivated. It can also be found in Asia and South America and is now naturalized in North America.
Comments: Native Americans used watercress as a food source, eating it raw or cooked. It has a peppery flavor and sometimes is used in salads or as a garnish and potherb. The juice of watercress is said to have medicinal value in the treatment of stomachaches, rheumatism, and throat inflammation.

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