Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Valerianella locusta - Cornsalad

Family: (Valerianaceae) - Valerian

"Valerianella locusta is a ANNUAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to June, and the seeds ripen from May to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil." [PFAF]

"General: Annual herb from a taproot; stems ascending to erect, solitary, simple to branched, sparsely bristly-hairy, 10-40 cm tall." [IFBC-Eflora]

Habitat/Range "Cultivated ground, waste places, hedgebanks, dunes etc, usually on dry soils[9, 17]. Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia." [PFAF]
"Mesic to dry woodlands, meadows, roadsides, fields and waste places in the lowland zone; rare in S BC; introduced from Eurasia." [IFBC-Eflora]

Origin Status: Exotic

Edible Uses


Cultivation & Propagation

"A very easily grown plant, it prefers a fairly rich light soil[1, 37] though it tolerates most soils and wet or dry conditions[52]. Prefers a sunny position but tolerates some shade in summer[K]. This shade, plus an adequate supply of water, will slow down the plant's tendency to run to seed[200]. Late sowings will benefit from a sheltered sunny position and perhaps some protection in the winter. Often cultivated on a garden scale for its edible young leaves which, by successional sowing, can be available for most of the year although they will require protection in severe winters. There are several named varieties[183]. The plants do tend to run quickly to seed in the summer though. If allowed to flower, plants will often maintain themselves by self-sowing[K]." [PFAF]

"Seed - in order to obtain a continuous supply of salad leaves, it is best to sow the seed successionally from early spring to late summer in situ. A late summer sowing might also succeed, and this would supply edible leaves in the winter." [PFAF]

Valerianella olitoria (L.) Pollich


  1. [E-flora], Accessed April 27, 2015
  2. [PFAF], Accessed Dec 11, 2014

Valerianella Sp.

"Annual. Stem: erect, equally, repeatedly forked. Leaf: basal and cauline, generally simple, entire to toothed. Inflorescence: cymes, dense, terminal, peduncled, generally paired, subtended by involucre-like ring of bracts. Flower: calyx generally 0; corolla funnel-shaped, lobes unequal, throat ± swollen at base; stamens 3; ovary (2)3-chambered, 1 chamber fertile, others empty or occasionally fused into 1. Fruit: ± compressed, grooved lengthwise.
± 80 species: Eurasia, northern Africa. (Latin: diminutive of Valeriana) [Bell 2007 Molec Phylogen Evol 44:929–941]" [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Valerianella locusta - Cornsalad


Page last modified on Friday, November 27, 2020 1:33 AM