watercress, hardy perennial European herb ( Nasturtium officinale ) of the family Cruciferae (or Brassicaceae; mustard family), widely naturalized in North America, found in or around water. Often cultivated commercially for the small, pungent leaflets, it is used as a peppery salad green or garnish. Other plants of the genus are sometimes called watercress and are used similarly. Watercress was formerly used as a domestic remedy and against scurvy. The ornamental plant whose common name is nasturtium is unrelated. Watercress is classified in the division Magnoliophyta , class Magnoliopsida, order Capparales (or Brassicales), family Cruciferae (or Brassicaceae).
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