Word Origin & History
edible cruciform plant (Eruca sativa) used originally in the Mediterranean region as a salad; the Amer.Eng. and Australian form of the name is (via Italian immigrants) from dial. variant of It. ruchetta, a dim. form of ruca-, from L. eruca, a name of some cabbage-like plant, from PIE *gher(s)-uka-,
from base *ghers- "to bristle" (see horror
). In England, the usual name is rocket (1530), which is from It. ruchetta via Fr. roquette. It also sometimes is called hedge mustard.