Na­ture Notes

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - MARKET PRICES COUNTRYFILE - by Owen Leyshon

IHAVE no­ticed in re­cent weeks in well drained, dry soils, a dainty plant called lamb’s let­tuce or com­mon corn­salad. This plant can be eas­ily over­looked as the taller grasses swamp it out as the sea­son pro­gresses, but also the flow­ers can be cov­ered by the green bracts on the side of the plant as well. The rea­son for the plant be­ing called lamb’s let­tuce is be­cause it ei­ther flow­ers dur­ing the lamb­ing sea­son, or that lambs like eat­ing it. Com­mon corn­salad, the other name for the plant, was used in win­ter sal­ads and is highly rich in min­er­als, salts and vi­ta­mins. The plant it­self has small lilac flow­ers ar­ranged in small clus­ters at the end the leaf stalks. The stems reg­u­larly sep­a­rate into two and the small plant al­ways looks dis­jointed. The leaves are op­po­site on the stem and are rather long and oval in shape. To con­fuse the is­sue there are sev­eral species of corn­salad, which can only be told by the shape and tex­ture of the seed. They are the smooth fruited, broad fruited and keeled corn­salad, but you have to wait un­til the plant is at the end of its cy­cle to find out what species it is.

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