Corn salad (Valerianella locusta)



Corn salad (Valerianella locusta) is a species of hardy annual plant in the family Valerianaceae, native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa. It is also known as lamb's lettuce, nut lettuce, feldsalat, mache, field salad, Lewiston cronsalad, and rapunzel.

Corn salad is a small, weedy-looking vegetable that grows in a basal rosette with round to spoon-shaped leaves of up to 15 cm long. The rosette can grow up to 0.3 m across. Corn salad has tender, smooth and slightly succulent leaves with a delicate, sweet, nutlike flavor and a juicy texture . It is grown as a winter green in mild climates, and tends to bolt to seed in warm conditions. During onset of warm weather, the plant sends up a branched stalk about 0.3 m tall, with small stem leaves and terminal round clusters of tiny purplish-blue flowers, in a process known as bolting. It is in flowers from April to June, and the seeds ripen from May to July. Corn salad is best picked before the flowers appear. Harvest corn salad by pinching off individual leaves, and the plants will keep producing more.

Corn salad is a common weed in waste places, hedgebanks, dunes, usually on dry soils and cultivated ground (especially corn fields) in Europe and Asia. Corn salad is a popular tossed salad ingredient in Europe, and it is used to complement stronger flavored greens like chicory, cress, arugula, and some of the more bitter lettuces. The spoon-shaped leaves are useful in catching the salad dressing.

Corn salad grows well in full sun or partial shade, and moist soil. Propagation is by seed, sown directly in the garden.

Corn salad is rich in vitamin C, E, B6, B9, beta-catotene, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Corn salad (Valerianella locusta)Corn salad (Valerianella locusta)
Author: J.F. Gaffard (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

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