Horseradish is a perennial plant grown for its root which is used as a condiment due to its peppery taste derived from the presence of mustard-related chemicals. Horseradish has a long history of use and its cultivation can be traced back to the middle ages.
The horseradish plant can grow to a height of over one metre. The lower leaves of the plant are large, green and tongue-shaped with long stems. On the main stalk there are also smaller, short-stemmed leaves. The colour of the root ranges from greenish to yellowish hues.
Horseradish originates from south-eastern Europe, but it also grows wild in other areas and can often be seen growing like a weed along roads and motorways. Today it is cultivated in many parts of the world.
There are two traditional ways of cultivating horseradish. One method is to bury a plank some distance from the surface of the soil to prevent the root from growing too deeply – which causes it to become long and spindly. The other method is to allow it to grow vertically for a time, then uproot it and replant it horizontally.