CRESS ( AS. cresse, cwrss, 011G. eresso, cress°, Ger. Ercssc; probably from 011G. chresun, 11I1G. krcscn, to creep). A name given to many plants, of which the foliage has a pungent, mus tard-like taste, and is used as a salad. It is sometimes more strictly confined to the genus Lepidium, a genus of the natural order Cruci ferie. The common cress or garden cress (Lc qridiunL is an annual. a native of the East. frequently cultivated in European and American gardens. It is powerfully anti-scor butic. Virginian cress (Levidium Virgini-eum) resembles the garden cress in its properties, and is eaten as a salad. and used as a diaphoretic medicine in North America and the West Indies. Lepidium pis•idinm, a native of the South Sea Islands, is one of the plants used by sailors for prevention or cure of scurvy. The name winter cress is given to species of the genus Barbarea, also cruciferous biennial or perennial plants. The common winter cress (Barbarea rulguris) is plentiful in moist pastures and hedge-banks throughout Europe and North America. It is occasionally cultivated as a winter salad; in Sweden it is used as a boiled vegetable.
Its pungency is combined with some degree of bitterness. Very similar to this, and also occasionally cultivated, is the early winter cress, or American cress pra'co,r), a native of Great Britain, the Continent of Europe, and North America. The common bitter cress or cuckoo-flower (Ca•durnine pratensis) is also known by the name of lady's-smock. Carda mine amara and Cardamine hirsuta are cultivated to a considerable extent in Europe, and are also found in America. Watercress (Nasturtium. officinalc) is a perennial aquatic plant, much used in the States and Europe as a cold-weather salad. It is a native of almost all parts of the world. The leaves have a pungent, bitterish taste, with a little saltness. The plant is of easy cultivation and grows best in clear. shallow, running water, with a bottom of sand or gravel. Mud is in jurious both to its growth and to the flavor of its leaves. For Indian cress or nasturtium, see