Lamb's Lettuce Overview
Valerianella locusta is a small, hardy annual species that is commonly consumed as a leaf vegetable. It is a reliable salad crop for cool periods and has a nutty flavour. This plant is known by many common names including Corn Salad, Common Cornsalad, Lamb's Lettuce, Nut Lettuce and Field Salad. Leaves are spoon-shaped and arranged in a low-growing rosette. Tiny flowers are borne in clusters on highly branched stems, they are white-blue in colour and possess 5 fused petals and 3 stamens, the flowers measure approximately 0.12-0.2cm in length and width. They are surrounded by modified leaves known as bracts, these provide support to the developing blooms. In warm conditions it has a tendency to bolt, this is a term for vegetable crops that prematurely flower and produce seeds. This species grows wild in areas of Europe, Northern Africa and Western Asia and it has been naturalised in North America on both the eastern and western seaboard. In Europe and Asia it is considered a common weed in many locations, particularly on cultivated land and wasteland. In other locations such as Nantes, France, it is considered a speciality of the region and it is cultivated as a crop.