Herb: Oyster Plant

Latin name: Mertensia maritima

Synonyms: Pulmonaria maritima

Family: Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Edible parts of Oyster Plant:

Leaves - raw or cooked. They are said to taste of oysters. No-one has yet noticed a resemblance to oysters though not many of the tasters have ever eaten oysters! The flavour is fairly bland, the leaf is thick and has a very mucilaginous texture - it is probably this texture that reminds people of oysters. Root. Eaten by the Inuit of Alaska. Flowers - raw.

Description of the plant:


20 cm
(7 3/4 inch)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Shingle by the sea. Uncommon and declining.

Propagation of Oyster Plant:

Seed - sow as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Spring sown seed is also successful. Germination usually takes place within a month. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in April or early September. With care since the plant resents root disturbance.

Cultivation of the herb:

Shingle by the sea. Uncommon and declining.

Medicinal use of Oyster Plant:

None known

Known hazards of Mertensia maritima:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.