Wasabi ( Eutrema japonicum)

Wasabi ( Eutrema japonicum) called (Japaneseわさびin hiragana writing), also Japanese horseradish or horseradish water, is a plant belonging to the family of cruciferous plants ( Brassicaceae). The rhizome is used in Japanese cuisine as a sharp spice. As a wild plant that is native to marshy areas at the edge of rivers in Japan and on the island of Sakhalin. As a crop it is grown in other parts of the world.

  • 4.1 Mode of Action
  • 4.2 Seiyo Wasabi
  • 4.3 Hon Wasabi


Generative features

The flowering period extends from March to May The loose, racemose inflorescence has at least below bracts. The hermaphrodite flowers are cruciform with double perianth. Four elongate sepals are 3 to 4 mm long, and 2 to 2.5 mm wide. The four white petals are elongated spatula with a length of 6 to 8 ( up to nine ) mm and a width of 2 to 3 mm. The white stamens are 3.5 to 5 mm long. The elongated dust bags are 0.6 to 0.8 mm long. The ovary contains six to eight ovules. The stylus being 2 to 3 mm long.

Vegetative characteristics

Eutrema japonicum grows as a perennial herbaceous plant, reaching heights of growth from 20 to 60 (rarely to 75 ) cm. There will be a vertical, fleshy rhizome with a diameter of approximately 3 cm is formed as Überdauerungsorgan which is harvested and put on the market as wasabi. Plant parts are mostly smooth or sparsely hairy soft at the top. The upright to lying stems not branched. The simple leaves are arranged distributed in a basal rosette and on the stem. The basal leaves are usually 10 to 20 stalked ( 6 to 26 ) cm long, and the leaf blade is heart - to kidney-shaped with almost smooth to serrated leaf edge. The middle stem leaves are 1 to 5 (rarely to 8 ) cm long stalks and the leaf blade is broadly ovate to ovate - cordate, 1.5 to 4 ( to 6 ) cm long and 2 to 4 ( to 6) cm wide with almost smooth to serrated leaf edge.

The thin, 1 to 3.5 (up to 5 ) cm long fruit stems are ascending to straddling. Rulers pod usually has a round cross -section, a length of 1 to 2 cm and a diameter of 1.5 to 2 mm. The flaps each have a vaguely recognizable main nerve. The septum is usually fully formed. The seeds are elongate 2-3 × 1 to 1.5 mm. The seed surface is slightly network and mucus in the wet state. The fruits aged between May and June.


Synonyms for Eutrema japonicum ( Miq. ) Koidz. are: . Cochlearia wasabi strainer, nom. nud. , Eutrema wasabi Maxim. , Lunaria japonica Miq. ( basionym ), Wasabia japonica ( Miq. ) Matsum. , Wasabia pungens Matsum. , Wasabia wasabi ( Maxim. ) Makino.


The name of Wasabi is Japanese. Today the term is written in hiragana syllabary (わさび). The original Kanji letters is "山葵", where "山" means mountain and the character "葵" in Japanese for the hollyhock ( which is not related with wasabi ) is used, which erroneously verbatim from earlier German scholars with " mountain hollyhock " was translated. This term can still be found in older literature, but is no longer used today mostly. The notation "山葵" is only in Japanese common in the Chinese languages ​​a different spelling for Wasabi is used, but山葵was " re-imported " as a modern loanword to China.


Wasabi is available as a powder in jars and tins or as a paste in small tubes in Europe. Freshly imported roots are found only in specialty shops, as well as plant now at well-stocked nurseries. Provide Ideally, as a container plant in the summer to a cool, shady place. Since it is only hardy conditionally, he needs a cover. To winter in the house to recoup the pot and still keep slightly moist. So a regular harvest is possible throughout the year. The focus is different, the sharpest is freshly prepared from the root of wasabi. Especially in the past doing a piece of shark leather with its typical tiny seated in the skin denticles was used as a grater; Today you take mostly metal rubbing. But even that much dry powder used in restaurants is sharp, but the sharpness is only formed a few minutes after mixing the powder with water.

Since the mustard oils are susceptible to oxidation, wasabi tubes should be closed immediately after opening again and stored in the refrigerator. Freshly grated wasabi or those from angerührtem powder loses its savor even after about half an hour. In the tube, this process is slowed by preservatives and the airtight seal. Also, the powder must always be stored in airtight cans when it its savor is to keep a long time.


Real wasabi is much sharper than European horseradish. The leaves and stems are milder and are well suited for salads. The sharpness of the bright green spice mixture stirred and also manufactures in horseradish and spicy mustard of volatile mustard oils; Wasabi therefore does not burn like chili peppers on the tongue, but in the throat and in the nose. In addition, the sharpness feeling lasts shorter. It is served in small quantities among others, along with soy sauce for sushi and sashimi. Especially in Japan Wasabi is also in the refinement of roasted nuts, beans or peas as a snack use. The mustard oils kill off unwanted bacteria in the gut; the spice promotes, as well as horseradish, the digestion.

Seiyō Wasabi

In the commercial a wasabi surrogate horseradish or a horseradish - mustard mixture is often sold, partially with chlorophyll, spirulina, or a combination of tartrazine ( E 102 ) ( provided in the EU with a warning since July 21, 2010) and brilliant Blue FCF (E 133) is colored green. A preparation containing, for example 30.4% horseradish powder, 6% mustard flour, tapioca starch, canola oil, 0.5 % wasabi powder, turmeric and parsley (residual water )

This surrogate, in Japan> Seiyo Wasabi < ( dt Western wasabi) or " Kona Wasabi " (Eng. horseradish wasabi) is called, has been used since 1939 and is very common due to the poor availability and high price of real wasabi - all plant cost in Europe more than 200 € / kg. Columnist Tom King judged taste and quality of the surrogate compared to the original product devastating.

In the retail offered products such as wasabi chips and wasabi Knuspererbsen usually contain one to two percent of the original product. After, pushed forward by the Federation of Consumer Organizations lawsuit, forbade in 2009 the District Court Munich II to the food companies Kattus to market a product under the name " wasabi peas ", which contained not a hint of wasabi. As part of the legal dispute, the company took the position that there could be no deception, because most customers do not know what wasabi is.

Hon Wasabi

Right Wasabi is available as fresh tuber that is rubbed directly on the table on a grater, frozen, grated paste or as a lyophilized powder that must be mixed with water. This can also be found under the name of ' Nama Wasabi < or > Hon Wasabi < (Eng. real wasabi) in trade, to distinguish it from > Seiyo Wasabi <. Powder called > Hon - wasabi Shiyo < must be at least 50 % real wasabi included.

For fresh plants (eg why or Satsuma ), a distinction is still on the origin and varieties. It grows wild in either shallow, cool, mineral-rich mountain streams ( Sawa wasabi) or pulled in hydroponics (Oka wasabi). Japan has its own requirements do not cover themselves and imports large quantities from Taiwan, China and the northwestern United States.

Hon Wasabi is fundamentally different in taste and color of Seiyo wasabi. He was by columnist Tom King described as follows: "He is more subtle, is accompanied by a sweet undertone and the smell of essential oils. And frog green it is not, rather aquamarine ". Qualitatively, the surrogate is a " Chemiepampe " compared to exclusive original.


  • Tai - Yien Cheo, Lianli Lu, Guang Yang, Ihsan Al- Shehbaz & Vladimir Dorofeev: Brassicaceae in the Flora of China, Volume 8, 2001, p 24: Eutrema wasabi ( Sieb. ) Maxim. - Online. ( Description section )