Time of bloom: April to July.
Seed-time: June to September.
Range: Maine to Ontario, and southward to Virginia.
Habitat: Old fields, meadows, and waste places.
This plant is an immigrant from Europe and an escape from gardens, where it was cultivated for salads and greens under the names of Fetticus, Veticost, and White Potherb. It is very hardy, enduring cold so well that in mild climates or mild winters it can be gathered and used throughout that season, a quality that helps it to survive many hardships as a weed. (Fig. 281.)
Stems six inches to a foot high, branching by repeated forking. Leaves opposite, pale green, succulent, tender, the lower ones growing in a tuft about the base of the stalk, blunt-pointed or rounded at the tips, tapering toward the base; stem-leaves sessile, smaller, and more pointed. Flowers very tiny, growing in small, flat clusters hardly a half-inch broad; the corollas pale blue or violet, funnel form, with five spreading unequal lobes; stamens usually three, and style with three-lobed stigma. Seeds very small, contained in a three-celled capsule of which two cells are always empty. Another species, six to eighteen inches tall with white flowers, known as the Beaked Corn Salad (Valerianella radiata, Dufr.), ranges from Massachusetts to Minnesota and southward to Texas and Florida, infesting low meadows and other moist soils. Cattle eat these weeds readily, but they are less nutritious than grasses and do not make good hay. The seeds are said to retain their vitality for about five years when buried in the soil.
Fig. 281. -Corn Salad (Valerianella Locusta).
Prevent production of seed by early and frequent cutting. Where practicable, put the ground under cultivation for a season in order to stir dormant seeds into life and destroy them with the needed tillage.