Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Native Plants Of California ~ #12 In A Series

Called Miner's Lettuce or Indian Lettuce, this trailing, fleshy annual was eaten by the California gold rush miners to ward off scurvy. High in vitamin C, it is eaten as a leafy vegetable in salads, or steamed and eaten like spinach, which its taste resembles. Native to our coastal ranges and western mountains, it grows from Alaska to Central America and was introduced to western Europe in 1749, where it has naturalized.

If you grow vegetables, you may want to consider this low growing winter annual. The seeds are best sown in September, when the days are getting shorter but still warm. Once establshed, the plant will self sow, possibly more than you'd like. If so, the shoots can be thinned easily.

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