Information on Eastern Rocket

Common Name: Eastern Rocket
Scientific Name: Sisymbrium orientale
Irish Name: Maol ĺosa
Family Group: Brassicaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Eastern Rocket could sometimes be confused with:

Rape, Mustard, Hedge, Charlock,

On waste ground and around ports, Eastern Rocket flowers from May to October. It grows to about 50-60cm high and bears light yellow, four-petalled flowers (2cm across) in terminal racemes. Members of the Brassica or Cabbage family are not always easy to identify but this species has distinctive leaves which help. They are grey-green and the upper, lance-shaped leaves have long, narrow terminal lobes and a single pair of narrow side lobes. The lower leaves are deeply cut into as many as 4 pairs of triangular lobes. The seed pods are slender, long (4-12cm) and when they are young, they are quite hairy. Also known as Indian Hedge-mustard this is an annual plant whose distribution is sparse and it is more commonly found in the eastern half of Ireland. However, the ‘orientale’ or ‘Eastern’ part of its name does not refer to the eastern part of Ireland but from its original home in Asia. It is also found in North Africa, southern Europe and in parts of the USA.

I found this little species growing in rough, waste ground in Dublin in 2014, when I also photographed it. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Rocket, Eastern
Rocket, Eastern

Nathaniel Colgan’s ‘Flora of County Dublin’(1904) gives a record of this species being found on ‘Waste ground near the Manure Works, East Wall, 1894’ (as Sisymbrium columnae), and a further record of ‘A single plant at the Pigeon House Fort, 1902’.  This species has also been recorded at the port in Waterford and in several other locations where there is disturbed ground.