Why Is Arugula Called Rocket?

Ever wondered why arugula goes by the name ‘rocket’? If you’ve ever tried adding this peppery green to your salads, you know that it packs a lot of flavor and spice.

In fact, it’s one of the oldest known vegetables to have been cultivated, hundreds of years ago in the Mediterranean region! Its long, narrow leaves also make it perfect for adding a pop of green to pretty much anything. But why is arugula called ‘rocket’?

In this article, we are going to explore the history of the arugula plant and why it ended up being called ‘rocket’. So read on to learn more about this popular vegetable and its unlikely namesake!

Why is Arugula Called Rocket?

Arugula, or rocket, is an herb native to the Mediterranean region that has made its way into kitchens all over the world. The name of the herb comes from the Latin word eruca, which means “to thrust.

” So it can be said that the name “arugula” comes from the herb’s tendency to be “thrust into” dishes. This unique name has earned arugula a lot of curiosity and confusion among people who don’t know about the herb.

If you’re one of them, here you’ll find the answer to your question, “Why is Arugula Called Rocket?”

History of Arugula

Arugula is a part of the mustard family and the earliest records of its existence can be traced back to the Roman Empire. It is said to have been favored by Emperor Nero, and since then, it has grown popular in the Mediterranean region.

The herb was brought to the US in the 19th century by Italian immigrants. Thanks to its complex flavor which provides a spicy and slightly bitter flavor to dishes, arugula quickly gained popularity in the country and, today, it’s one of the most popular herbs.

What Does Arugula Taste Like?

Arugula has a slightly bitter flavor combined with a slight peppery or mustard flavor.

This makes arugula popular in salads and sandwiches as it adds a unique flavor to the dishes. Additionally, arugula gives a pleasant fresh flavor when used in sauces and casseroles.

Why is Arugula Called Rocket?

The Latin name for arugula is eruca sativa, which means “to thrust” or “to shoot forth. ” The French adopted this name and started calling the herb “Rucola. ” This eventually made its way to Italy and was transliterated to “Ruchetta,” which was further changed to “Rocket” by the British. A lot of people think that the name rocket comes from the herb’s shape and texture, as it is similar to rocket leaves which have long, thick stalks that resemble the shape of a rocket.


Arugula is an herb that has its origins in the Mediterranean region but is now used in kitchens all over the world. The unique name of the herb which is rocket comes from the Latin word eruca, which means “to thrust,” and the French adopted this name to call the herb Rucola. It can also be said that the name comes from the herb’s shape and texture, which resemble those of rocket leaves. Regardless of the reason why arugula is called rocket, this herb is now widely used owing to its unique flavor and aroma. So, the next time you come across the word “arugula” or “rocket,” you’ll know why it’s called that way.

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