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The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.




Nasturtium officinale
Nasturtium officinale
(water-cress)
Plants
Exotic
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Nasturtium officinale W.T. Aiton

Common name: water-cress

Synonyms and Other Names: Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) Hayek, Nasturtium nasturtium-aquaticum, (L.) H. Karst., Sisymbrium nasturtium-aquaticum L., Nasturtium officinale var. siifolium (Rchb.) W.D.J. Koch

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Water cress is a fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial herb. Floating or prostrate in mud. Stems succulent, hollow, and much branched, 1 to many, 4–25 in. long, rooting at nodes. Leaves pinnately divided; leaflets 3–7, oval to egg-shaped, entire to wavy-edged. Flowers small (6 mm, diameter) in terminal clusters, white. Sepals, erect, green, about 3 mm long; petals white, about 4 mm long and 4 long stamens attached near their bases to the filaments. Ovary about 3 mm long, style short, stigma with two lobes. Fruits borne on spreading pedicels and slightly curved upward. The double row of seeds in each half of the siliqua is a well marked character. The valves of the ripe siliqua beaded; seeds suborbicular and compressed, with 25 alveoli on each side of the testa.  It can grow to a height of 50-200 cm, with a stem up to 20 mm in diameter and with leaves up to 27 cm in length.

Native Range: Eurasia & Asia

US auto-generated map Legend USGS Logo
Alaska auto-generated map
Alaska
Hawaii auto-generated map
Hawaii
Caribbean auto-generated map
Puerto Rico &
Virgin Islands
Guam auto-generated map
Guam Saipan
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Nasturtium officinale are found here.

StateYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Alabama194420113Bear; Locust; South Atlantic-Gulf Region
Arizona1944201212Aqua Fria; Hassayampa; Havasu Canyon; Imperial Reservoir; Lower Colorado Region; Lower Colorado-Marble Canyon; Lower Verde; Middle Gila; San Francisco; Upper Gila-Mangas; Upper Santa Cruz; Upper Verde
Arkansas1978200815Arkansas-White-Red Region; Beaver Reservoir; Frog-Mulberry; Lower Arkansas; Lower Black; Lower Red-Ouachita; Lower White; Middle White; Ouachita Headwaters; Spring; St. Francis; Upper Ouachita; Upper Ouachita; Upper White; Upper White
California18772018112Aliso-San Onofre; Antelope-Fremont Valleys; Battle Creek; Big Chico Creek-Sacramento River; Big-Navarro-Garcia; Butte Creek; California Region; Calleguas; Carrizo Creek; Carrizo Plain; Central Coastal; Clear Creek-Sacramento River; Cottonwood-Tijuana; Coyote; Crowley Lake; Cuyama; Death Valley-Lower Amargosa; East Branch North Fork Feather; East Walker; Estrella; Eureka-Saline Valleys; Fish Lake-Soda Spring Valleys; Fresno River; Gualala-Salmon; Havasu-Mohave Lakes; Honcut Headwaters-Lower Feather; Honey-Eagle Lakes; Indian Wells-Searles Valleys; Ivanpah-Pahrump Valleys; Lake Tahoe; Los Angeles; Lower American; Lower Eel; Lower Pit; Lower Sacramento; Mad-Redwood; Mattole; Middle Fork Eel; Middle Fork Feather; Middle Kern-Upper Tehachapi-Grapevine; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; Mojave; Mono Lake; Monterey Bay; Newport Bay; North Fork American; North Fork Feather; Owens Lake; Pajaro; Panamint Valley; Paynes Creek-Sacramento River; Piute Wash; Russian; Sacramento-Stone Corral; Salinas; Salmon; San Antonio; San Diego; San Felipe Creek; San Francisco Bay; San Francisco Coastal South; San Gabriel; San Jacinto; San Joaquin Delta; San Luis Rey-Escondido; San Pablo Bay; San Pedro Channel Islands; Santa Ana; Santa Barbara Channel Islands; Santa Barbara Coastal; Santa Clara; Santa Margarita; Santa Maria; Santa Monica Bay; Santa Ynez; Scott; Shasta; Smith; South Fork American; South Fork Eel; South Fork Kern; Southern Mojave; Suisun Bay; Surprise Valley; Thomes Creek-Sacramento River; Tomales-Drake Bays; Trinity; Truckee; Tulare Lake Bed; Upper Bear; Upper Cache; Upper Calaveras California; Upper Carson; Upper Cosumnes; Upper Dry; Upper Eel; Upper Kaweah; Upper Kern; Upper King; Upper Merced; Upper Mokelumne; Upper Pit; Upper Poso; Upper San Joaquin; Upper Stanislaus; Upper Stony; Upper Tule; Upper Tuolumne; Upper Yuba; Ventura; West Walker; Whitewater River
Colorado194420092Lower Green-Diamond; Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Connecticut183120133Lower Connecticut; New England Region; Quinnipiac
Delaware193219802Brandywine-Christina; Broadkill-Smyrna
District of Columbia200820081Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan
Florida1986201723Apalachee Bay-St. Marks; Aucilla; Crystal-Pithlachascotee; Daytona-St. Augustine; Econfina-Steinhatchee; Kissimmee; Lower Choctawhatchee; Lower Ochlockonee; Lower St. Johns; Lower Suwannee; Oklawaha; Peace-Tampa Bay; Santa Fe; South Atlantic-Gulf Region; St. Johns; St. Johns; Tampa Bay; Tampa Bay; Upper St. Johns; Waccasassa; Withlacoochee; Withlacoochee; Yellow
Georgia1947200812Conasauga; Etowah; Lower Chattahoochee; Lower Ogeechee; Lower Savannah; Middle Flint; Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga; Oostanaula; South Atlantic-Gulf Region; Tugaloo; Upper Coosa; Upper Little Tennessee
Idaho189620087Birch; Clearwater; Lemhi; Lochsa; Pacific Northwest Region; Upper Salmon; Upper Snake-Rock
Illinois1929200815Big Muddy; Kankakee; Lower Illinois; Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua; Lower Illinois-Senachwine Lake; Lower Rock; Middle Wabash-Busseron; Rock; Upper Illinois; Upper Kaskaskia; Upper Mississippi Region; Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau; Upper Mississippi-Meramec; Upper Sangamon; Wabash
Indiana1942200824Blue-Sinking; Driftwood; Eel; Eel; Iroquois; Kankakee; Little Calumet-Galien; Lower East Fork White; Lower Wabash; Lower White; Middle Wabash-Busseron; Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion; Ohio Region; Patoka-White; Silver-Little Kentucky; St. Joseph; Sugar; Tippecanoe; Upper Wabash; Upper White; Wabash; Wabash; Whitewater; Wildcat
Iowa194420087Coon-Yellow; Maquoketa; Middle Des Moines; Missouri-Nishnabotna; Turkey; Upper Mississippi-Maquoketa-Plum; Upper Wapsipinicon
Kansas19442008*
Kentucky194420152Lower Kentucky; Upper Green
Louisiana197220083Atchafalaya - Vermilion; Lake Maurepas; Red-Sulphur
Maine193220083New England Region; Presumpscot; Saco
Maryland189420089Conococheague-Opequon; Gunpowder-Patapsco; Lower Susquehanna; Mid Atlantic Region; Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan; Middle Potomac-Catoctin; Monocacy; Patuxent; Severn
Massachusetts194420082Cape Cod; New England Region
Michigan1857201728Au Sable; Betsie-Platte; Black-Macatawa; Boardman-Charlevoix; Cheboygan; Great Lakes Region; Huron; Kawkawlin-Pine; Lake Michigan; Manistee; Northeastern Lake Michigan; Northwestern Lake Huron; Ottawa-Stony; Pere Marquette-White; Pine; Saginaw; Southcentral Lake Superior; Southeastern Lake Michigan; Southwestern Lake Huron; St. Clair; St. Clair-Detroit; St. Joseph; Thornapple; Thunder Bay; Tittabawassee; Upper Grand; Upper Wisconsin; Western Lake Erie
Minnesota1884200815Des Moines Headwaters; Leech Lake; Lower Minnesota; Lower St. Croix; Minnesota; Mississippi Headwaters; Root; Rush-Vermillion; St. Croix; St. Louis; Twin Cities; Two Rivers; Upper Mississippi-Black-Root; Upper Mississippi-Crow-Rum; Zumbro
Mississippi198920081Lower Mississippi-Natchez
Missouri196920101Current
Montana194420152Flathead Lake; Middle Kootenai
Nebraska194420081Missouri Region
Nevada193720086Black Rock Desert-Humboldt; Central Lahontan; Central Nevada Desert Basins; Great Basin Region; Lower Colorado-Lake Mead; Upper Amargosa
New Hampshire189620083Merrimack River; New England; Piscataqua-Salmon Falls
New Jersey198320082Lower Hudson; Mid-Atlantic Region
New Mexico194420081Upper Gila-Mangas
New York1881200821Bronx; Cattaraugus; Chemung; Conewango; Eastern Lake Erie; Great Lakes Region; Hudson-Wappinger; Long Island; Lower Hudson; Lower Hudson; Middle Hudson; Oneida; Oswego; Rondout; Sacandaga; Southern Long Island; Southwestern Lake Ontario; Upper Delaware; Upper Hudson; Upper Susquehanna; Virginian
North Carolina194420088Cape Fear; Haw; Hiwassee; Pigeon; Rocky; South Atlantic-Gulf Region; Upper Little Tennessee; Upper Neuse
North Dakota19441944*
Ohio1944200822Black-Rocky; Cuyahoga; Hocking; Lake Erie; Licking; Little Miami; Lower Great Miami; Mahoning; Middle Ohio-LittleMiami; Middle Ohio-Raccoon; Mohican; Ohio Brush-Whiteoak; Paint; Sandusky; Scioto; Southern Lake Erie; Tuscarawas; Upper Great Miami; Upper Ohio; Upper Ohio-Wheeling; Upper Scioto; Western Lake Erie
Oklahoma194420081Arkansas-White-Red Region
Oregon1881201125Alsea; Alvord Lake; Applegate; Coos; Guano; Lower Columbia; Lower Columbia-Sandy; Lower Crooked; Lower John Day; Lower Owyhee; Lower Rogue; Lower Willamette; Middle Fork Willamette; Middle Rogue; Middle Willamette; Pacific Northwest Region; Siletz-Yaquina; Trout; Umatilla; Umpqua; Upper John Day; Upper Klamath; Upper Klamath Lake; Upper Rogue; Upper Willamette
Pennsylvania1879201146Allegheny; Bald Eagle; Brandywine-Christina; Clarion; Conemaugh; Connoquenessing; Conococheague-Opequon; Delaware; French; Kiskiminetas; Lake Erie; Lehigh; Lower Delaware; Lower Delaware; Lower Juniata; Lower Monongahela; Lower Susquehanna; Lower Susquehanna; Lower Susquehanna-Penns; Lower Susquehanna-Swatara; Lower West Branch Susquehanna; Mahoning; Mid Atlantic Region; Middle Allegheny-Redbank; Middle Allegheny-Tionesta; Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead; Middle Delaware-Musconetcong; North Branch Potomac; Pine; Raystown; Schuylkill; Shenango; Susquehanna; Tioga; Upper Allegheny; Upper Delaware; Upper Juniata; Upper Ohio; Upper Ohio-Beaver; Upper Ohio-Wheeling; Upper Susquehanna; Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna; Upper Susquehanna-Tunkhannock; Upper West Branch Susquehanna; West Branch Susquehanna; Youghiogheny
Puerto Rico193520112Culebrinas-Guanajibo; Southern Puerto Rico
Rhode Island181020085Blackstone; Massachusetts-Rhode Island Coastal; Narragansett; New England Region; Pawcatuck-Wood
South Carolina196819973Lower Pee Dee; Santee; South Atlantic-Gulf Region
South Dakota194420081Missouri Region
Tennessee1959201821French Broad-Holston; Hiwassee; Holston; Lower Cumberland; Lower Cumberland; Lower Cumberland-Old Hickory Lake; Lower Duck; Lower French Broad; Lower Little Tennessee; Lower Tennessee; Middle Tennessee-Elk; Middle Tennessee-Hiwassee; Obey; Ohio Region; South Fork Holston; Stones; Tennessee Region; Upper Cumberland-Cordell Hull Reservoir; Upper Tennessee; Upper Tennessee; Watauga
Texas189420082Delaware; Upper Guadalupe
Utah1944198813Escalante Desert-Sevier Lake; Great Basin Region; Great Salt Lake; Jordan; Lower Bear; Lower Colorado-Lake Mead; Lower Green; Lower Weber; Upper Bear; Upper Colorado Region; Upper Colorado-Dirty Devil; Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir; Weber
Vermont194420084Connecticut; Lake Champlain-Richelieu River; Northeastern Lake Ontario-Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence; Upper Connecticut
Virginia189218921Upper James
Washington194420086Lower Snake-Tucannon; Lower Yakima; Pacific Northwest Region; Palouse; Rock; Upper Yakima
West Virginia19442008*
Wisconsin1944201831Bad-Montreal; Beartrap-Nemadji; Black-Presque Isle; Buffalo-Whitewater; Castle Rock; Chippewa; Coon-Yellow; Fox; La Crosse-Pine; Lake Michigan; Lake Superior; Lower St. Croix; Lower Wisconsin; Manitowoc-Sheboygan; Menominee; Northwestern Lake Michigan; Oconto; Pecatonica; Pike-Root; Rock; Southwestern Lake Michigan; St. Croix; Sugar; Upper Fox; Upper Fox; Upper Mississippi Region; Upper Mississippi-Maquoketa-Plum; Upper Rock; Upper Wisconsin; Wisconsin; Wolf
Wyoming19442008*

Table last updated 12/12/2018

† Populations may not be currently present.

* HUCs are not listed for states where the observation(s) cannot be approximated to a HUC (e.g. state centroids or Canadian provinces).


Ecology: Nasturium officinale is a perennial herb that grows at the water’s surface along the edges of cold lakes and reservoirs, and along slow-moving streams and rivers (Benson et al. 2004, Howard and Lyon 1952, Robert W. Frackman Herbarium 2012). The depth of water in commercial watercress beds is about 3-6 in (Howard and Lyon 1952).  Well-suited to water that is slightly alkaline and it is usually absent from stagnant water. Watercress prefers to take roots in limey, gravelly, sediment (Robert W. Freckman Herbarium 2012). Watercress appears to be intolerant of heavy shade (Howard and Lyon 1952). A relatively high humidity is required for optimum growth (Howard and Lyon 1952).

Nasturium officinale overwinters with terminal buds up to 10 cm in length (Howard and Lyon 1952). Watercress is most abundant in summer and autumn; flowers between March to October. This species is self-compatible and produces ~ 15 fruits per inflorescences and 26 seeds per fruit (Howard and Lyon 1952). This species is also capable of vegetative reproduction (Howard and Lyon 1952).

Means of Introduction: Intentionally introduced by green industry and cultivation. Fragments are dispersed unintentionally by wind, water, and animals.

Status: Established.   Naturalized throughout North America, north to Alaska

Impact of Introduction: Water cress may be a noxious weed or invasive. In arid regions of western states, it can alter function and block streams. It was reported to block water flow in springs in South Central Wisconsin. Extracts can attract schistosomiasis host Biomphalaria glabrata (snail).

Rich source of potential anticarcinogen; Edible green used in salads, cooking; Homeopathic properties; Wastewater treatment.  “Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C. Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a mild stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid. It also appears to have cancer-suppressing properties. It is widely believed to help defend against lung cancer.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watercress)

References: (click for full references)

Bahramikia, S. and R. Yazdanparast. 2010. Antioxidant efficacy of Nasturtium officinale extracts using various in vitro assay systems. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies 3(4): 283—290.

Benson, A. J., C.C. Jacono, P.L. Fuller, E. R. McKercher., and M. M. Richerson. 2004. Summary Report of Nonindigenous Aquatic Species in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 5. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arlington, Va. 145 pp.

Bleeker, W., M. Huthmann, and H. Hurka. 1999. Evolution of Hybrid Taxa in Nasturtium R.Br. (Brassicaceae). Folia Geobotanica 34(4): 421—433.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2013. Fascioliasis (Fasciola Infection). Available http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/fasciola/. Accessed 29 April 2013.

Connecticut Aquatic Nuisance Species Working Group (CANSWP). 2006. Connecticut Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan. State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. 117 pp.

Duman, F. and F. Ozturk. 2010. Nickel accumulation and its effect on biomass, protein content and antioxifative enzymes in roots and leaves of watercress (Nasturtium officinale R. Br.). Journal of Environmental Sciences (China) 22(4): 526—532.

Falck, M. and S. Garske. 2003. Invasive Non-native Plant Management During 2002. Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), Odanah, WI. 68 pp.

Gill, C. I., S. Haldar, L.A. Boyd, R. Bennett, J. Whiteford, M. Butler, J.R. Pearson, I. Bradbury, and I. R. Rowland. 2007. Watercress supplementation in diet reducs lymphocyte DNA damage and alters blood antioxidant status in healthy adults. THe american Journal of Clinical Nutrition 85(2): 504—510.

Great Lakes Panel for Aquatic Nuisance Species (GLPANS). 2008. Prohibitied Species in the Great Lakes Region. 14 pp.

Howard, H.W., Lyon, A.G. 1952. Nasturtium Officinale R. Br. (Rorippa Nasturtium-Aquaticum (L.) Hayek). The Journal of Ecology 40 (1): 228-245. 

Howard-Williams, C., J. Davis, and S. Pickmere. 1982. The dynamics of growth, the effects of changing area and nitrate uptake by watercress Nasturtium officinale R. Br. in a New Zealand stream. Journal of Applied Ecology 19(2): 589—601.

Keser, G. and S. Saygideger. 2010. Effects of lead on the activities of antioxidant enzymes in watercress, Nasturtium officinale R. Br. Biological Trace Element Research 137(2): 235—243.

Kullberg, R. G. 1974. Distribution of aquatic macrophyte related to paper milll effluents in a southern Michigan stream. American Midland Naturalist 91(2): 271—281.

Newman, R. M., Z. Hanscom, and W. C. Kerfoot. 1992. The watercress glucosinolate-myrosinase system: a feeding deterrent to caddisflies, snails and amphipods. Oecologia 92(1): 1—7.

Ozturk, F., F. Duman, Z. Leblebici, and R. Temizgul. 2010. Arsenic accumulation and biological responses of watercress (Nasturtium officinale  R. Br.) exposed to arsenite. Environmental and Experimental Botany 69(2): 167—174.

Redding, T.S., Midlen, A. 1997. The treatment of aquaculture wastewaters - A botanical approach. Journal of Environmental Management 50 (3): 283-299.

Reznicek, A.A., E. G. Voss, and B. S. Walters. 2011. Michigan Flora Online. University of Michigan. Available http://michiganflora.net/species.aspx?id=670. Accessed 12 April 2013.

Robert W. Freckman Herbarium. 2012. Family Brassicaceae. Nasturtium officinale R.Br. Available http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=NASOFF. Accessed 29 April 2013.

State of Washington, Department of Ecology.  2013. Nasturtium officinale R. Br. Formerly called Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) hayek, water cress. Available http://www.ecy.wa.gov/Programs/wq/plants/plantid2/descriptions/rornas.html. Accessed 29 April 2013.

Tardio, M Pardo-De-Santayana, Morales, R. 2006. Ethnobotanical review of wild edible plants in Spain. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 152 (1): 27-71.

Tenorio, R.C., Drezner, T.D. 2006. Native and invasive vegetation of karst springs in Wisconsin's Driftless area. Hydrobiologia 568: 499-505.

Walsh, J. A. and K. Phelps. 1991. Development and evaluation of a technique for screening watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum) for resistance to watercress yellow spot virus and crook-root fungus (Spongospora subterranea f. sp. nasturtii). Plant Pathology 40(2): 212—220.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR).  2010. Watercress: Nasturtium officinale.  5 pp. Available http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Invasives/documents/classification/Nasturtium%20officinale.pdf. Accessed 29 April 2013.

Other Resources:
GLIFWC Maps

The PLANTS Database 2008. National Plant Data Center, NRCS, USDA. Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. http://plants.usda.gov/

Connecticut Botanical Society

Wikipedia

Calflora

Turner Photographics

Author: Cao, L, and L. Berent

Revision Date: 7/1/2014

Citation Information:
Cao, L, and L. Berent, 2018, Nasturtium officinale W.T. Aiton: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=229, Revision Date: 7/1/2014, Access Date: 12/14/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Disclaimer:

The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [12/14/2018].

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