Usually found on heavy alkaline soils in the wild. Succeeds on most soils. Dislikes shade.
Germinates in spring and autumn in the wild.
The plant harbours an eelworm that attacks other crops. It is therefore best not to grow it in a garden setting.
An edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. It is also used in making soap and burns well so can be used for lighting.
Leaves - raw or cooked. Somewhat hot, the young leaves are used as a flavouring in salads, where they add a piquant flavour. Older leaves are used as a potherb. It is best to use just the young shoots and leaves in the spring, older leaves are bitter.
Flowering stems - cooked. A pleasant, cabbage/radish flavour, they can be used as a broccoli substitute before the flowers open. The stems should be lightly steamed for no more than 5 minutes. The flowers can also be cooked as a vegetable or used as a garnish.
Seed - it can be sprouted and eaten raw. A hot flavour, it can be added to salads and sandwiches. The seed can be ground into a powder and used as a food flavouring. It has a hot mustard flavour.
Note: The plant is possibly poisonous once the seedpods have formed.