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VALERIANELLA locusta

Image of Valerianella locusta

Family

Valerianaceae

Botanical Name

VALERIANELLA locusta

Plant Common Name

Mache

General Description

This cool season field green has numerous common names such as corn salad, feldsalat, fetticus, lamb's lettuce, mache and nut lettuce. Its small, rounded, somewhat fleshy leaves are produced when weather is cool or even cold. It will even withstand snow. Originally from Eurasia and North Africa, it is a true annual that self-sows freely and has become naturalized in many other countries including parts of the United States. As a green, it is typically eaten in salads and has a fresh, nutty flavor.

The plants form tight rosettes of spoon-shaped leaves that are medium to bright green. These are very smooth and somewhat fleshy and can be harvested leaf by leaf. As spring weather becomes warmer, each rosette sends up branched stems topped with clusters of small, silvery bluish white flowers. Once the plants begin to flower, they are no longer good to eat. After seed set they die.

Cool weather, full sun and fertile, sandy to loamy, well-drained garden soil is needed to produce robust rosettes of mache. Ample soil moisture is still necessary. In areas with milder winters, they can be planted in fall for winter harvest. Further north it’s advisable to plant them in late summer for late fall harvest. Sow the seeds directly in the soil, cover lightly and water. This is a perfect partner for kohl crops and other frost tolerant veggies. There are several cultivated varieties that vary in leaf size, texture and heat tolerance. The selection, ‘Broad Leaved’, is one of the easiest to find in the United States.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    3"-12" / 7.6cm - 30.5cm

  • Width

    4"-12" / 10.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring

  • Native To

    Europe, Northern Africa, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Rosette/Stemless

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White, Lavender

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes