Valerianella locusta

  (Redirected from Corn salad)

Valerianella locusta is a small annual plant that is eaten as a leaf vegetable. It has a characteristic nutty flavour, dark green colour, and soft texture, and is popularly served as salad greens.[2] Common names include corn salad,[3] common cornsalad,[4] lamb's lettuce,[3] mâche[3] (/mɑːʃ/), fetticus,[3] feldsalat,[3] nut lettuce,[3] field salad. In restaurants that feature French cooking, it may be called doucette or raiponce, as an alternative to mâche, by which it is best known.[5] In German-speaking Switzerland it is known as Nüsslisalat or Nüssler, terms that have been borrowed by the area's many English speakers. It is typically served as a salad with chopped hard-boiled eggs and crumbled bacon.

Valerianella locusta
Corn salad is identifiable by its rounded leaf and deep green colour
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Genus: Valerianella
V. locusta
Binomial name
Valerianella locusta
(L.) Betcke
  • Valeriana locusta L.
  • Valeriana locusta var. olitoria L.
  • Valerianella olitoria (L.) Pollich
Valerianella locusta illustration by Thomé (1885) showing the plant, flower, and seed.
Mache Blooming.jpg


Corn salad grows in a low rosette with spatulate leaves up to 15.2 cm long.[3] It is a hardy plant that grows to zone 5, and in mild climates it is grown as a winter green.

In warm conditions it tends to bolt to seed,[6] producing much-branched stems with clusters (cymes) of flowers. The flowers have a bluish-white corolla of five fused petals, 1.5 to 2 mm (0.06 to 0.08 in) long and wide, and three stamens. Underneath the flowers is a whorl of bracts. Fertilized flowers produce achenes with 2 sterile chambers and one fertile chamber.[7][8][9]

Distribution and habitatEdit

Corn salad grows wild in parts of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia.[10] In Europe and Asia it is a common weed in cultivated land and waste spaces. In North America it has escaped cultivation and become naturalized on both the eastern and western seaboards.[11]

As a cultivated crop, it is a specialty of the region around Nantes, France, which is the primary producer of mâche in Europe.[12]


Corn salad was originally foraged by European peasants. Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie [fr], royal gardener of King Louis XIV, introduced it to kitchen gardening.[13] It has been eaten in Britain for centuries and appears in John Gerard's Herbal of 1597.[14] It was grown commercially in London from the late 18th or early 19th century and appeared on markets as a winter vegetable, but it only became available in modern supermarkets there in the 1980s.[15] American president Thomas Jefferson cultivated mâche at his home, Monticello, in Virginia in the early 1800s.[12]

The common name corn salad refers to the fact that it often grows as a weed in cornfields,[14] ("corn" is used in the sense of "cereal", not the US meaning of maize).


Like other formerly foraged greens, corn salad has many nutrients, including three times as much vitamin C as lettuce, beta-carotene, B6, iron, and potassium. It is best if gathered before flowers appear.[16]

Valerianella locusta
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
3.6 g
0.4 g
2 g
MineralsQuantity %DV
459 mg
4 mg
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source:[citation needed]


  1. ^ "The Plant List".
  2. ^ "Valerianella locusta". Missouri Botanical Garden.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Valerianella locusta". Floridata.
  4. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2014-10-23. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  5. ^ "Mâche". Larousse Cuisine.
  6. ^ Plants for a Future: Valerianella locusta
  7. ^ "Valerianella locusta". E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia.
  8. ^ "Taxon Profile: Valerianella locusta". Flora of New Zealand. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  9. ^ "Taxon Profile: Valerianella". Flora of New Zealand.
  10. ^ "Valerianella locusta". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2017-12-18.
  11. ^ "Valerianella locusta". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA.
  12. ^ a b "History of Mâche". Epicroots.
  13. ^ Organic Gardening Magazine, August–September 2007
  14. ^ a b Ayto, John, ed. (2002). An A-Z of Food and Drink. Oxford University Press.
  15. ^ T. W. Sanders (1917), Vegetables and Their Cultivation, London: W. H. & L. Collingridge Limited
  16. ^ Bender, David A., ed. (2005). Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. Oxford University Press.


  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWard, Artemas (1911). The Grocer's Encyclopedia. Missing or empty |title= (help)