Native to Egypt and Middle East, cultivated in Persia around 400 B.C. Spread many centuries ago to western Europe. The word cress is from old germanic cresso which means sharp, spicy. Garden cress seeds, since ancient times, have been used in local traditional Ayurvedic medicine of India. Today Garden cress is commercially grown in England, France, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. Garden cress is suitable for hydroponic cultivation and thrives in slightly alkaline water. In many local markets, the demand for hydroponically grown cress can exceed available supply, partially because cress leaves are not suitable for distribution in dried form, so can be only partially preserved. Consumers commonly acquire cress as seeds or (in Europe) from markets as boxes of young live shoots. Delicious garden cress recipes.