Garden cress (Lepidium sativum) is a fast-growing, edible plant botanically related to watercress and mustard and sharing their peppery, tangy flavour and aroma. In some regions, garden cress is known as garden pepper cress, pepper grass or pepperwort.
Garden cress is a green perennial plant used as a leaf vegetable consumed by humans typically as a garnish. Undisturbed garden cress can grow to a height of two feet with minimal maintenance. When mature, garden cress produces white flowers, and small seedpods.
Agriculturally, cress is considered among the most important species of the genus of the family of mustards. Cultivation of garden cress is practical on both mass scales and on the individual scale. Garden cress is suitable for hydroponic cultivation and thrives in water that is slightly alkaline. It is common for the consumer to acquire cress as seeds or (in Europe) from markets as a box of young live shoots. In many local markets the demand for hydroponically-grown cress far exceeds available supply. This is partially because cress leaves are not suitable for distribution in dried form, and thus can be only partially preserved. Edible shoots are typically harvested a week after germination.