Raphanus sativus caudatus
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Common Name: Rat-Tail Radish
The edible seedpods have a peppery bite!
Photograph by: « R?W?n? »
Raphanus sativus caudatus is a Annual
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
This plant's origin is uncertain, it possibly arose out of cultivation[
Not known in a truly wild situation.
Prefers a rich soil with ample moisture[
]. Dislikes very heavy or acid soils[
]. Plants are susceptible to drought and require irrigation during dry spells in the summer or the root quality will rapidly deteriorate and the plant will go to seed.
The rat-tailed radishes are sometimes cultivated for their large edible seedpods, there are some named varieties[
]. This group of radishes does not produce roots of good quality, it is cultivated mainly for the edible young seedpods which are harvested in the summer.
Radishes are a good companion plant for lettuces, nasturtiums, peas and chervil, tomatoes and cucumbers[
]. They are said to repel cucumber beetles if planted near cucumber plants and they also repel the vine borers which attack squashes, marrows and courgettes[
]. They grow badly with hyssop[
] and with grape vines[
Young leaves - raw or cooked[
]. A somewhat hot taste.
Flowers - raw. A nice spicy addition to salads.
Young seedpods - raw[
]. Crisp and juicy, they must be eaten when young because they quickly become tough and fibrous. They can grow more than 60cm long, but they tend to become tough and fibrous when more than 30cm long[
Radishes have long been grown as a food crop, but they also have various medicinal actions. The roots stimulate the appetite and digestion, having a tonic and laxative effect upon the intestines and indirectly stimulating the flow of bile[
]. Consuming radish generally results in improved digestion, but some people are sensitive to its acridity and robust action[
The plant is used in the treatment of intestinal parasites, though the part of the plant used is not specified[
The leaves, seeds and old roots are used in the treatment of asthma and other chest complaints[
The juice of the fresh leaves is diuretic and laxative[
The seed is carminative, diuretic, expectorant, laxative and stomachic[
]. It is taken internally in the treatment of indigestion, abdominal bloating, wind, acid regurgitation, diarrhoea and bronchitis[
The root is antiscorbutic, antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, digestive and diuretic[
]. It is crushed and used as a poultice for burns, bruises and smelly feet[
]. Radishes are also an excellent food remedy for stone, gravel and scorbutic conditions[
]. The root is best harvested before the plant flowers[
]. Its use is not recommended if the stomach or intestines are inflamed[
The plant contains raphanin, which is antibacterial and antifungal[
]. It inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, streptococci, Pneumococci etc[
]. The plant also shows anti-tumour activity[
The growing plant repels beetles from tomatoes and cucumbers[
]. It is also useful for repelling various other insect pests such as carrot root fly[
There is a fodder variety that grows more vigorously and is used as a green manure[
Seed - sow spring in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.