Herb: Miner's Lettuce
Latin name: Claytonia perfoliata
Synonyms: Montia perfoliata
Family: Portulacaceae (Purslane Family)
Medicinal use of Miner's Lettuce:The leaves are gently laxative. Apart from its value as a nourishing vegetable that is rich in vitamin C, it can also be taken as an invigorating spring tonic and an effective diuretic. A poultice of the mashed plants has been applied to rheumatic joints.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Disturbed and waste ground, moist banks and slopes, often in partial shade, especially on light soils. Also found on rather dry sandy soils.
Edible parts of Miner's Lettuce:Leaves - raw or cooked. A fairly bland flavour with a mucilaginous texture, it is quite nice in a salad. The young leaves are best, older leaves can turn bitter especially in the summer and if the plant is growing in a hot dry position. Although individual leaves are fairly small, they are produced in abundance and are easily picked. Stalks and flowers - raw. A nice addition to the salad bowl. Bulb - raw. Although very small and labour-intensive to harvest, the boiled and peeled root has the flavour of chestnuts. Another report says that the plant has a fibrous root system so this report seems to be erroneous.
Other uses of the herb:Although only an annual, this species makes an excellent ground cover in a cool acid soil under trees. In such a position it usually self-sows freely and grows all year round.
Propagation of Miner's Lettuce:Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ. The seed usually germinates rapidly.
Cultivation of the herb:Disturbed and waste ground, moist banks and slopes, often in partial shade, especially on light soils. Also found on rather dry sandy soils.
Known hazards of Claytonia perfoliata:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.