Arugula (American English) or rocket (Commonwealth English) is a type of leaf vegetable, and although often mistaken for a sort of lettuce, is in actual fact an herb, being a member of the mustard family.
Scientifically, it consists of three species: Eruca sativa, Diplotaxis tenuifolia and Diplotaxis muralis. It is occasionally known by its French name roquette or Italian names rucola or rughetta.
Most commonly known in the English speaking world as "rocket" or "rocket salad" (Middle English rokette, from Old French roquette, from Italian rochetta, from Latin ērūca - a type of cabbage), it has been grown as a vegetable in the Mediterranean area since the Roman times; it was considered to be an aphrodisiac. Still, it was not cultivated on a large scale and not scientifically researched until the 1990s. It was usually collected in the wild. Nowadays, it is cultivated in various places, especially in Veneto, and available throughout the world.
Rocket is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Garden Carpet.
Rocket is especially used in salads, but also cooked as a vegetable with pasta or dry meat. In Italy its use for pizzas is also common; in this case it is added only after the baking. It is rich in vitamin C and iron.