Sunday, December 4, 2022
HomeEnvironmentMudflower: Miner's lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)

Mudflower: Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)


Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) is a pleasant short-lived annual leaf vegetable that solely grows in cooler climate.  It’s not a sort of lettuce, and even carefully associated to lettuce, however is utilized in a lot the identical approach therefore its widespread title.

Miner’s lettuce is a vegetable that I are inclined to eat uncooked, nevertheless it additionally goes properly briefly cooked.  I’m advised it may be utilized in soups, however I do not intend to strive that as I actually wish to eat it contemporary.  It’s extremely nutritious, tastes nice, and is properly crunchy.  This plant is fairly excessive in Vitamin C, iron, and varied different vitamins which were sorely missing over winter.  I feel that consuming miner’s lettuce contemporary is finest as a result of cooking would destroy a number of the vitamin c.

There’s something about this plant that I am unable to get sufficient of.  I discover myself within the backyard pulling and consuming hand-fulls of the stuff.  I am unable to stroll previous with out consuming no less than a number of leaves.  I want it grew throughout hotter climate as a result of it’s glorious in a salad, or in a sandwich, or…it’s nice with just about with something.  Miner’s lettuce is my favorite salad vegetable, too dangerous it is just grows throughout such a brief interval annually.

Miner’s lettuce self seeds in my backyard as soon as the climate warms.  As soon as the climate cools, it begins to germinate, and appears to cowl spectacular quantities of soil whereas it grows.  It normally grows moderately dense from self dropped seeds, covers the soil, and blocks daylight from hitting the soil which in flip reduces weed development.  I actually need to unfold much more seed across the backyard so I can eat extra of this subsequent yr!

Miner’s lettuce (and a few mache) masking the soil

I both pull out handfulls of miner’s lettuce, or I snip of sections utilizing scissors, that means that harvest is fast and easy.  My youngsters appear to additionally like miner’s lettuce.  They typically come to me and ask if I can decide them a bowl full to eat.  

There aren’t quite a lot of leaf greens that my youngsters truly need to eat.  My daughter generally asks if she will decide a bowl full to share with me.  Some miner’s lettuce, a bit salt, and afternoon tea is sorted.

My daughter picked miner’s lettuce to share with me

Miner’s lettuce grows little leaves on lengthy stalks.  The entire thing is edible and tastes good.  As soon as the plant matures the flowers are born inside a leaf, and look moderately fairly.  Flowering doesn’t change the style, and miner’s lettuce is rarely bitter.  

Not lengthy after they flower they die and drop seed.  The seeds have a tendency to sit down within the soil and look forward to cool climate, then so long as the soil moisture is excessive sufficient they germinate.

Miner’s lettuce appears to show quite a lot of variation in dimension, however I do not suppose that is genetic.  I feel that is environmental as those on poor soil are usually tiny, and those on good soil are bigger.  Under are six leaves, the three on the left are common leaves from completely different crops.  The three on the correct are all flowering dimension.  

If grown in poor soil this plant will keep tiny and nonetheless flower and set seed, that means it’s actually good at establishing a everlasting self-seeding patch.  I am unable to think about it turning into an excessive amount of of a weed as its life is so brief, plus my youngsters would graze it out if I allow them to.

The three on the left are common leaves, three on the correct are flowering leaves

I’ve by no means seen any pest of illness have an effect on miner’s lettuce in my backyard.  Typically slugs get in among the many stalks, however they appear to be hiding there moderately than consuming something.  A fast rinse takes care of those.  Sometimes I see a number of small holes within the leaves, I don’t know what causes that, however they do not seem to do a lot injury so I do not thoughts sharing.

We had a hail storm yesterday, so my crops are all bruised and broken.  The crops are tender however by some means much more resilient than they seem.  Even with the hail injury they most likely have a number of extra weeks of harvest as they’re flowering, so will drop seed and die down quickly. 

Miner’s lettuce is nice in beds which are occupied by perennial summer time greens throughout hotter climate.  I’ve grown it in potato beds and below yacon, the place it really works properly.  I’ve a sense that it could do properly within the asparagus mattress if I did not have already got strawberries masking the soil there.  I typically surprise how it could carry out in aquaponics.

Miner’s lettuce on the left (mache on the correct) – I am unable to eat sufficient of it!

To the perfect of my data no breeding effort has ever been put into miner’s lettuce, and there aren’t any named varieties.  This plant is just about a wild edible.  Normally wild edibles are moderately fibrous and bitter, however this one is neither.

Whereas I typically attempt to breed improved styles of just about the whole lot, I’m not certain if I’ll attempt to enhance miner’s lettuce.  Partly as a result of I’ve no entry to genetically numerous germplasm, and partly as a result of miner’s lettuce is fairly nice simply as they’re.  I simply want they tolerated hotter climate a bit higher!

My crops are rising and flowering now.  If I acquire seed I’ll seemingly checklist it on my on the market web page
If I do not save seed, or I’m bought out, there are a number of locations that
promote seeds of miner’s lettuce so you must be capable to discover it someplace.

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