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a genus of perennial herbaceous plants of the family Cruciferae. The plant has a straight, branched stem, somewhat elongate leaves, and white flowers gathered into racemes. The genus has two species, which grow in Europe and Asia, including the USSR: horseradish (A. rusticana) and A. sisymbrioides.
Horseradish has large fleshy roots and a stem that may reach 1 m in height. The radical leaves are elongate-oval, and the stem leaves are elongate-lanceolate and linear. The flowers are fragrant, bearing the odor of stock. Seeds are as a rule not produced. The plant is frost-resistant.
The soils most suitable for horseradish are sandy loam and loam turf-podzolic soils with a water-permeable subsoil layer. Also suitable are chernozems and dried peat beds. In heavy clay soils with insufficient moisture the roots become coarse and acquire a very sharp taste; roots from sandy soils lack this taste.
Horseradish is cultivated in most countries as a vegetable. If it is not well cared for it grows wild and becomes a weed. The roots and leaves contain vitamins, essential oils, mineral salts, phytoncides, and the enzyme lysozyme. The sharp taste and distinctive odor of the roots are due to the presence of mustard oil and the glycoside sinigrin. The roots are eaten raw or cooked. They may be dried, marinated, or salted. The green leaves and roots are used in marinating and pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Horseradish is propagated from root cuttings measuring 15–20 cm long and 1–1.5 cm thick. The cuttings are set out at 45° angles in spring or in August, either in rows or by double cropping. Between 40,000 and 55,000 plants are set out per hectare. The care of horseradish includes weeding, hoeing the soil in the rows and interrows, watering, and applying mineral fertilizers.
The roots are gathered in autumn, after the greens are cut and removed from the field. The roots are sorted, trimmed, stacked, and covered with straw to shield them from sunlight. Stock for spring planting is prepared when the commercial roots are being sorted. The yield reaches 100–300 quintals per hectare. Commercial roots and stock are stored in warehouses, where they are covered with a layer of dry peat or sand, or in pits. They are kept at temperatures of 0°–2°C.
A. sisymbrioides is a wild plant with edible roots.
REFERENCESBiokhimiia ovoshchnykh kul’tur. Edited by A. I. Ermakov and V. V. Arasimovich. Leningrad-Moscow, 1961.
Ipat’ev, A. N. Ovoshchnye rasteniia zemnogo shara. Minsk, 1966.
Spravochnik po ovoshchevodstvu. Edited by V. A. Bryzgalova. Leningrad, 1971.
Z. S. LEZHANKINA