Corn Salad

Valerianella locusta

profile icon20150418Valerianella locusta1
by AnRo0002 (CC0)
1 of 4
A close up of some white Valerianella locusta flowers
profile icon20150418Valerianella locusta1
by AnRo0002 (CC0)
1 of 4
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. It has 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 seaboards. 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.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer, Spring

Fruiting time

Autumn, Spring

Harvesting

Can be harvested eight weeks after sowing. Harvest outer leaves, the inner will continue to grow.

Propagation

Seed

Sow in spring for a summer harvest and in late summer to mid-autumn for a spring harvest. Can be started under glass. Sow thinly in drills 13mm deep, 30cm apart. Thin plants to 10cm apart.

Special features

Crop rotation

Can been sown in spring either as a summer harvest or in mid-autumn for a spring harvest.

Attractive flowers

Ground cover

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Personality

Family

Caprifoliaceae

Flower colour

White

Scent

None

Problems

Birds, Cutworms, Lettuce root maggot, Root aphid, Root knot eelworm, slugs, snails, grey mould, lettuce downy mildew, mosaic virus, ring spot.
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Knowledge and advice

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