Saturday, September 23, 2023

Wasabi or Not

 Here are some pictures from our community garden plots on the last day of summer where I live in the Southern Tier of New York State.  Gardening is mostly done but here are some survivors in our two raised beds.

Rhubarb chard.

Broccoli and lettuce.  There are a couple of short sunflowers in back of the broccoli that are getting ready to bloom.  Hopefully, first frost doesn't come this week (it isn't supposed to).

Last of the Asian greens.

Tomatoes are dead but here are some still ripening cherry tomatoes.

And then there is the wasabi.

Or is it? (the pink flowers are the plant in question; the larger plants in the picture are zinnias).

Some explanation.

Wasabi is a member of the brassica family, which includes cauliflower, broccoli, kale, mustard, and horseradish.

It is also known as Japanese horseradish, and you should know that most of the wasabi served in the United States is not true wasabi.  True wasabi is hard to grow and it is expensive.

So when we saw "wasabi" plants for sale in an end of season clearance in a New York State nursery about an hour from us, we decided to buy a plant.  We put it into a raised bed near our zinnias.  This bed is in full sun.

Mid-summer the plant started to bloom.  We did some research (should we cut off the flower buds?) and from what we read, this may not be a wasabi plant.

The plant is still flowering and the seed pods growing (next to last photo above)  look like those of radishes.  I have only seen horseradish (common horseradish) leaves a couple of times and I'm not sure this is even horseradish.  Naturally I didn't take a picture of the leaves, but horseradish is supposed to have white flowers, not purple.

I have no idea what to do with this plant, which is thriving in the raised bed.I've not going to eat any of this plant unless I get a good ID, somehow.

Oh well-each gardening season has to have its mystery.


  1. Mystery plant. Yes, it’s wise to refrain from eating anything from it.

  2. The true wasabi does not sting at all. I love the taste since a young age.

  3. vegetable garden didn't do well this year.

  4. It would be nice if places would correctly identify the plants they sell. But, what would be the fun in that? Now you get to play plant detective...


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