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Hairy-fruited Cornsalad

Valerianella eriocarpa

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
40 centimetres tall
Cliffs, fields, grassland, riverbanks, walls, wasteland.

White, 5 petals
Small branched clusters of pale blue or white flowers.
The fruit is roundish and hairy. Most other UK Cornsalad species are not hairy; the exception being Narrow-fruited Cornsalad which is sometimes (but not always) hairy.
An annual plant with narrow, oval leaves.
Other Names:
Italian Cornsalad, Woolly Corn Salad.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Valerianella eriocarpa is a species of flowering plant in the family Valerianaceae, native to Europe and Asia. It is a small annual plant with white flowers, and is also known by the common name woolly corn salad. The leaves of Valerianella eriocarpa are edible and have a slightly bitter taste. They are often used in salads and as a garnish, and are also sometimes used in herbal medicine.


Hairy-fruited Cornsalad (Valerianella eriocarpa), also known as Hairy Valerian, is a small, delicate, and tasty leafy green that is gaining popularity among gardeners and chefs alike. Native to Europe and Asia, this plant is a hardy annual that can be easily grown in a wide range of climates and soils. In this blog, we'll explore the many benefits of Hairy-fruited Cornsalad and how to grow and harvest it for the best results.

One of the biggest benefits of Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is its versatility in the kitchen. With its mild, nutty flavor and tender leaves, it can be enjoyed raw in salads, sandwiches, and wraps, or cooked in stir-fries, soups, and stews. It's also a great source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium, making it a healthy addition to any diet.

Growing Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is relatively easy and requires very little maintenance. This plant prefers full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. It can be grown from seed and should be planted in the spring, about two weeks before the last expected frost. Space the seeds about 6-8 inches apart and cover them with about 1/8 inch of soil. Water the seeds thoroughly and keep the soil moist until they germinate, which should take about 10-14 days.

Once the seeds have germinated, the young plants should be thinned to about 6-8 inches apart to allow for proper growth and development. Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is relatively drought-tolerant and doesn't require a lot of water, but it's important to keep the soil consistently moist to prevent the leaves from wilting. If you live in a hot and dry climate, it's best to grow this plant in the cooler months to avoid heat stress.

Harvesting Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is straightforward and can be done once the plant reaches 4-6 inches in height. To harvest, simply snip the leaves at the base of the plant with scissors. You can also harvest the entire plant if desired, but it's best to leave some leaves behind so the plant can regrow. If you're growing this plant in a garden, it's important to remove any weeds that may compete with it for nutrients and water.

Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is a delicious and nutritious leafy green that is easy to grow and harvest. Whether you're a gardener or a chef, this plant is definitely worth considering for your next growing season. With its mild flavor and versatility in the kitchen, it's a great addition to any diet and can help you to eat more greens year-round.

Another benefit of Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is its medicinal properties. The leaves and roots of this plant have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, anxiety, and insomnia. The plant contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic effects, making it a natural remedy for stomach cramps and indigestion.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is also a great choice for gardeners looking for an edible plant that's low in maintenance and has a long growing season. Unlike many other leafy greens, this plant can continue to grow and produce leaves well into the fall, giving you a steady supply of fresh greens even after other plants have stopped producing.

When it comes to cooking with Hairy-fruited Cornsalad, the possibilities are endless. The leaves are delicate and tender, making them a great addition to salads and sandwiches. They can also be cooked and added to soups, stews, and stir-fries for added flavor and nutrition. If you're looking for a unique and delicious way to enjoy this plant, try roasting the leaves in the oven with a little olive oil and salt for a crispy and crunchy snack.

If you're interested in growing Hairy-fruited Cornsalad, it's widely available from seed suppliers and garden centers. The seeds are easy to sow and grow, and the plants are hardy and low-maintenance, making them a great choice for gardeners of all levels of experience. With its delicious flavor, versatility in the kitchen, and numerous health benefits, Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is definitely worth adding to your garden this year.

Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is a highly nutritious and delicious leafy green that has numerous health benefits. With its low maintenance requirements and long growing season, it's a great choice for gardeners looking for an easy-to-grow edible plant.

Another aspect of Hairy-fruited Cornsalad that makes it a popular choice among gardeners is its attractive appearance. This plant has small, delicate leaves that are a bright green color, making it a great addition to any garden or container. The leaves have a soft and tender texture, and they are covered in small, fine hairs that give the plant its distinctive look and feel.

In addition to its attractive appearance, Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is also an important food source for many wildlife species, including pollinators like bees, butterflies, and moths. This plant provides a valuable source of nectar and pollen for these insects, making it a great choice for anyone who wants to support local wildlife.

Finally, it's important to note that Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is a great option for those looking for an edible plant that is both sustainable and eco-friendly. Unlike many other leafy greens, this plant requires very little water, making it a great choice for those who live in arid or drought-prone areas. It's also a low-maintenance plant that doesn't require the use of pesticides or other harmful chemicals, making it a safe and sustainable choice for both you and the environment.

In conclusion, Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is a highly versatile, nutritious, and attractive leafy green that is perfect for gardeners of all levels of experience. With its low maintenance requirements, eco-friendly and sustainable growing practices, and numerous health benefits, this plant is definitely worth considering for your next growing season. Whether you're growing it for its delicious flavor, its attractive appearance, or its importance to local wildlife, Hairy-fruited Cornsalad is a plant that will not disappoint.

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Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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