This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Valerianella olitoria, Poll.). Valeri-anacese. A spring and summer salad and pot-herb plant.
Annual: mature plant 4-6 in. tall, forking: radical leaves tufted (the parts used), oblong and obtuse, narrowed at the base, entire or few-toothed; stem - leaves narrow, often clasping: flowers very small, in small terminal cymes, whitish: fruit (seed) nearly globular, gray, not crested. S. Eu. V. eriocarpa, Desv., of S. Eu. and N. Africa, is sometimes cultivated as salad: leaves longer and lighter-colored: fruit (seed) flattened, pale brown, crested. Known also as lamb's lettuce, fetticus, and vetticost.
Sow the seed of corn-salad in early spring, at the time of the first sowing of lettuce, and make successional plantings as often as desired. For very early salads the seeds are planted in September, and the young plants are covered with a light mulch and wintered exactly as spinach is often managed. Sow in drills a foot or 18 inches apart and cover lightly. Work the ground thoroughly, and give an abundance of water. The leaves may be blanched, but are usually eaten green. It matures in sixty to sixty-five days during good spring weather. Only one variety is offered by most American seedsmen, but several sorts are known to European gardeners. It is sometimes used for a pot-herb, being served like spinach, but is chiefly valuable for salads. It is rather tasteless, and is not so popular as cress or lettuce on that account, but persons who prefer a very mild salad, or who would rather taste the salad dressing, will doubtless fancy corn-salad.
It is best served in mixture with other herbs, as lettuce, water-cress or white mustard. It is easy to grow. There are no special enemies. F. a. Waugh.