Corn Salad

Photo of corn salad plant flower clusters showing arrangement of buds.
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Scientific Name
Valerianella radiata
Valerianaceae (valerians)

A low annual herb, much branched. Flowers minute, in umbel-shaped, close cymes, several of these close together, forming a platform. Each flower forms a funnel with 5 white lobes. Blooms April–May. Leaves opposite, sessile, clasping; the lower ones with a few teeth near their base, oblong with rounded tops.


Height: usually less than 1 foot.

Where To Find
image of Corn Salad distribution map

Statewide except northern portion.

Occurs in fallow fields, prairies, wet meadows, open soils in valleys, creek bottoms, rocky glades, rocky or open ground, waste places, roadsides, and railroads. Often forms large colonies.

This plant is named “corn salad” because it, like its cultivated cousin in Europe, can be used as a salad green. Missouri botanist Julian Steyermark noted that the young basal rosettes “make an excellent salad, especially when prepared with olive oil and vinegar.”

There are three species of corn salad (genus Valerianella) in our state. Two, including this one, are native. The other, also called "lamb's lettuce," was introduced from Europe as a salad green and potherb. It can be grown in a vegetable garden and sometimes escapes into the wild.

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About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri
A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!