Foraging Wild Shoots: Garden Yellow-rocket

Earlier this week, I profiled the edible shoots of Garlic-mustard, and today I'll share a similar vegetable of a plant called Garden Yellow-rocket (Barbarea vulgaris).  The tender tops of this biennial look similar to cultivated broccoli rabé, which is a member of the same plant family, and are best gathered before the plants flower.

Photo of Garden Yellow-rocket tops

Originally from Europe, Garden Yellow-rocket can now be found throughout New England (in fact, throughout most of the country), and tends to grow in disturbed soils, fields, and flood-prone lands. First-year plants overwinter as leafy basal rosettes, which then flower in late April or May of their second year. Here's a typical lower leaf, showing several small leaflets and a larger terminal leaflet.

Photo of Garden Yellow-rocket leaf

Depending on where you live, this vegetable may already be out-of-season. Luckily, Garden Yellow-rocket's bright-yellow, four-petaled flowers make this plant easy to see for weeks longer and can aid in positive field identification.

Photo of Garden Yellow-rocket flowers

Whether this year or next, I hope you get to meet and eat this abundant wild edible.

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