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:



Plant:
Annual


Height:
15 cm
(6 inches)

Flovering:
May to
July

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.