E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Nasturtium officinale W.T. Aiton
common watercress
Brassicaceae (Mustard family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #70356)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Nasturtium officinale
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial herb from a fibrous root; stems leafy, succulent, submersed or partly floating, sometimes prostrate on mud, 10-60 cm long, only the tip usually erect, rooting at the nodes, glabrous or sparsely hairy.
Basal leaves pinnate with 3-7 leaflets, egg-shaped to broadly oblong, unstalked, without ear-like lobes at the bases, entire or wavy-margined, terminal leaflets larger than lateral, stalked, base of the stalks usually with small ear-like lobes at the bases, glabrous; stem leaves similar.
Racemes corymbose, elongate in fruit; flower stalks 6-20 mm long, spreading or even slightly recurved to ascending; petals white to purplish-tinged, 3-4 mm long, broadly spoon-shaped; sepals 2.5-3.5 mm long, glabrous, the outer pair pouched at base.
Siliques, widely spreading to somewhat ascending, slightly curved upward to straight, narrowly oblong, 10-25 mm long, 2-3 mm wide; beaks obscure, rarely to 0.5 mm long; seeds distinctly 2-rowed, flattened and very slightly wing-margined, coarsely wrinkled, about 1 mm long, about 24-60 pits per side.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Streams and shallow ponds in the lowland and montane zones; frequent in S BC, rare northward; introduced from Europe.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Nasturtium officinale

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 780 780 780
Slope Gradient (%) 25 25 25
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
175 175 175
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 5 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(1)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (Linnaeus) Hayek

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

General References