Wild rocket or Diplotaxis tenuifolia is a vegetable in the family Brassicaceae (mustard, cabbage, or crucifers family) commonly used in Italian and French cuisines, such as to garnish meat, sandwiches or pizzas. It also serves as a salad leaf and may be mixed with other baby salad leaf crops, and both its leaves and flowers are edible, but many people often prefer leaves.
Also known as Perennial wall rocket, Lincoln weed (Australia), sand or white rocket, wild Italian arugula, sylvetta arugula, among other names this vegetable is not the same as rocket or arugula (Eruca vesicaria). As a weed, it grows in disturbed areas or on roadsides.
The Diplotaxis tenuifolia plant is native to the temperate regions, primarily the Mediterranean and Eastern Asia. However, other parts of the world have naturalized it, and they grow it as one of the salad leaf vegetables.
Finally, it has a pungent and more intense flavor that arugula, deeply serrated leaves (profoundly lobed) bright or dark green leaves with a lance shape and hairless fleshy stems.
Can bunnies eat wild rockets?
Yes. You can feed wild rockets leaves, stems, and flowers to your bunnies. This nutritious vegetable or weed has vitamins, A, and K, as well as iron, magnesium, copper, calcium, among other nutrients.
Feed them as you usually feed other leafy greens, i.e., make it part of the 5-6 salad mix. One cup of the chopped mixture is enough for a rabbit weighing two pounds. This mixture can have other healthy vegetables such as endive, kale, red or green lettuce, dandelion greens, chicory, cilantro, watercress, dill leaves, and so on.
While it is healthy, don’t feed them too much. Fresh plants should only account for 10-15% of their diet while grass hay takes the lion share (at least 80%) since it is high in fiber and has well-balanced nutrients. Excessive amounts of this vegetable or any other may result in diarrhea, stomach upsets, and other digestive problems.
Introducing it to your bunnies
If your bunnies have never eaten this plant before, you need to start feeding it to them gradually, beginning with a minimal amount. Check if it causes any stomach upsets after 24 hours. If not, continue increasing the amount given. This manner of introduction gives their microflora bacteria to adjust to the new vegetable.
Secondly, ensure your source is free of herbicides or pesticides. The one growing by roadsides or disturbed areas may have these chemicals. Also, wash it under running water.
Finally, always go for raw fresh wild rocket and not cooked ones. This way of serving should be the same case to any other food you give to your rabbits. Cooking makes foods less crunchy and may reduce their nutritive value.
While commonly confused or assumed to be arugula, Lincoln weed is safe for bunnies. You can include it in their leafy green diet. While not picky, some rabbits may like this vegetable, while others may not.