I grew a wild arugula last year, and was very pleased with the plant.

I would like to grow more of it this year, and maybe to add some (non-wild) arugula as well.

Is there any notable difference between the two, except flower color, and annual/perenial classification? I mean any significant difference in taste, afrodisiac properties, optimal growing conditions, etc.?

Wild arugula: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplotaxis_tenuifolia

Arugula: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eruca_sativa

Jacob Sturm's illustration of wild arugula:

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Just for illustration, a dish with arugula from wikimedia:

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  • If you look at pictures online, Eruca sativa isn't as serrated, sometimes, but Diplotaxis tenuifolia always seems to be quite serrated. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Feb 2 at 5:08
  • Eruca sativa gets small plants with bitter leaves. Easy to grow via direct-seeding. Reseeds easily. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Feb 2 at 5:13

Arugula and wild arugula is the same species. Just that the "this-is-not-arugula" is quicker to grow, so we have this "false" arugula sold as arugula, and started to call the true arugula as wild arugula (which is not wild, it is cultivated and selected since long time).

Both are very similar (culinary use). Different varieties have larger differences. Both were also used in Europe in the past, arugula as cultivated species, and Diplotaxis as wild species, where available. (so the contrary of what we think).

So speed of growth is the determinant, for commercial use. Additionally, both (like many other vegetables) are a lot less healthy that we think (still healthy anyway): to be able to commercialize, selections removed the more strong/bitter varieties (which were healthier). If you look the old recipe, you see that the use is much different (few people still cook arugula, or put it in broths. So if you are looking properties that were listed more than 50 years ago, you should really go wild and take such plants.

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  • To me, the diplotaxis, the "wild" one, has a perfect taste, and is even beautiful as an ornamental plant (gaura-style flowers), and is perenial, which is a plus to me. Since I am not a commercial grower, summary of what you are saying would be: "Stick to the wild one", no? – VividD Jan 28 '18 at 19:25
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    For sure, the flowers of Diplotaxis are a lot nicer. Arugula flowers seems dirt and faded. I would also cultivate the species I'll prefer to eat. More vegetables is better than better (and seldom eaten) vegetables. – Giacomo Catenazzi Jan 29 '18 at 7:49
  • I'm not sure if I understood what you were saying, but Eruca sativa and Diplotaxis tenuifolia are not even in the same genus, let alone the same species. They are both in the cabbage family, though. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Feb 2 at 5:04

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