Is wasabi a plant?

Is Wasabi a plant?

This is a question that comes up occasionally. Normally, after they have been eating Japanese food and have been asking questions about the ingredients involved with their food.

The short answer to this question is NO!

So if not a plant, what is it?

This is where it starts to get complicated, as most people associate the word Wasabi with a searing blast of heat into the sinuses and a shocked expression, and a blob of green paste (goo) that they have just popped into their mouth.

The next part of the puzzle relates to the green stuff that just went into the mouth. This green stuff is a condiment that is added to food either to compliment it or overwhelm it, dependent upon the consumers inclination.

It is ALWAYS consumed as a paste, never as a powder or as part of a plant, such as eating a carrot or a piece of celery.

It always MUST be processed in some manner.

It isn’t used by itself, but only in conjunction with other food (unless a prank is being pulled).

The green stuff that most people call Wasabi can be made from many different sources. It can be plant based, such as;

Single source: Wasabia japonica (very rare). This is the plant that the Wasabi flavour profile has been based on.

Multi source mixtures; Any combination of Horseradish, mustard, chilli, tumeric, chlorofil and spirolina (for the green colour). These are the most common types of Wasabi found on grocery and supermarket shelves.

Or it can be completely made using materials from the world’s chemical laboratories using;

Multi source chemicals; These are combinations of the chemical components of European Horseradish, mustard, Wasabia japonica, together with FDA approved colouring mixed with various fillers such as cornstarch, potato starch, and anything else the manufacturer decides to use. These products are becoming more common as the price of natural plant material continues to increase.

Or it can be made from a mixture of any of the above!

This means that you have to look at the ingredients list on the back of the packet of Wasabi you have just purchased, and hope the manufacturer is telling the whole truth, or check out

What do all these Wasabi have in common?

The only real thing they have in common is the attack on the sinuses. Even the level of intensity of that feeling varies significantly from product to product.

Some product ends up leaving a burning sensation on the tongue and sometimes the mouth. Other products introduce carcinogenics into the body through the use of FDA approved colours and flavours. Still others, have no or little taste and just have the colour and paste consistency going for it.

The other thing that they have in common is the expense. Next time you look at a wasabi paste or powder sitting on a shelf, work out what the price per Kilogram this little jar or tube works out to. When you do this exercise I suspect that you will be amazed.

Final Say

Coming back to the original question.

Is Wasabi a plant?

The answer is definitely a NO, it is a condiment that takes the form of a paste that is eaten in conjunction with food and very rarely by itself.

It is never consumed as a powder. There is Wasabi powder to be found on the grocery and supermarket shelves of the world, but it must always be mixed with water before being eaten.

Hopefully you found this article interesting and useful. If you would like more information on growing Wasabia japonica, then go to and sign up for their FREE email Wasabi Growers Homework Course. This will give you more ideas about what you need to concentrate on if you really want to become a Wasabi Grower.

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