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Oysterleaf  RSS feed

 
garden master
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Location: Maine, zone 5
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Wow, this edible perennial sounds interesting and apparently is growing wild near me....I had no idea.  Time to start looking for it!  Anyone here eating this plant and if so what do you think?  They sell seeds at Richters and Baker Creek (they have free shipping btw).

Here's a picture from Baker Creek:


And their description:
"(M. maritima) This delicious plant is aptly named for its tolerance to maritime exposure and it can be found growing wild along the Scottish coast. It received its common name because the thick, tender leaves taste similar to oysters with a hint of seaweed flavor. Perfect in salads and other raw dishes. Because of its beauty and hardiness, some gardeners say they will never be without this amazingly aromatic plant in their garden. Hardy to zone 3; seeds can take a month to germinate. Hard to find!"

And a pic from Richter's:


And their description:
Oysterleaf
Mertensia maritima
Uses: Culinary
Duration: Perennial (hardy in zones 2-8)
When to Sow: Spring/Late Summer/Early Fall
Ease of Germination: Moderate/Special Treatment Required

(Oyster plant; Sea lungwort) Leaves are like oysters! This little-known super hardy perennial is found along seashores from the far north of Canada to as far south as B.C., the Maritimes and New England. It is salt-tolerant and thrives in gravel and sand, feeding on little more than composted seaweed washed up on the shore. Yet it also thrives in gardens in well-drained soil, even in warmer areas as far south as California. The Inuit of Alaska were known to eat the rhizomes. In Europe it has been over-harvested to the point where it is now rare. The texture of cooked leaves is remarkably like oysters, and the aroma is described as having "marine oyster-like notes." A recent study revealed that the plant possesses high concentrations of allantoin, the factor responsible for the healing magic of comfrey.
 
pollinator
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I've grown it for a few years and now have quite a lot in the summer - enough to enjoy on buttered toast and in salads. It's delicious, spreads easily and self seeds in the right conditions.

Ours may be another variety, the colour and shape of the leaves looks different.

 
Irene Kightley
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This is it ready to drop its seeds

 
Greg Martin
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Irene!!!  Those look lovely.  Can you tell us where you got the seeds for these?
 
Irene Kightley
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I run a seed exchange association and some kind person gave us them.

When we have unusual plants, I usually keep some and divide the rest between the more experienced gardeners with the promise that they'll let us have seeds next year. All of us had seeds to share the next year, so they're not difficult to propagate.
 
Greg Martin
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Anyone have any ideas for plants to put together with oysterleaf to make a seashore polyculture?  My first thought is growing sea kale as islands in a sea of oysterleaf.  I'm planning to start that this year and am very interested in other ideas for perennial edibles to add to that group.  Something with yellow flowers might be a nice add in to complement the white and blue flowers.
 
pioneer
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The two plants in the first post look nothing alike to me.  Am I missing something?
 
pollinator
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Trace Oswald wrote:The two plants in the first post look nothing alike to me.  Am I missing something?



Ditto!
 
gardener
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I think they look like the second plant has much sparser leaves.  The first plant is growing so densely that the leaves are forming loose rosettes, but I think the individual leaves look similar. The bloom picture caught the flowers either before or after they had color, but otherwise they are very similar.
 
Greg Martin
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My guess was that the first photo is of a rosette form while the second photo was of the flower shoot, but won't be sure until I grow them out.  
 
Carla Burke
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I think you have 2 completely different plants, there. At least from the pics, if you look down into the plant, in the first one, they steam structure and color are entirely different. They leaves on the second one look like a succulent, while the first one looks more like the foliage of lilies...
 
Greg Martin
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Here's a stock photo of this plant showing both the rosette as well as the flower shoot I found at this site.  It's not too uncommon for a plant to have different leaves on the flower shoot than on the rosette, but I do agree that they can look quite different for this species.

 
Carla Burke
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Very COOL!! What an intriguing plant!
 
Carla Burke
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Oiy.
 
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I bought some last year from this German site:  https://www.kraeuter-und-duftpflanzen.de/pflanzen-saatgut/abelie-augentrost/a-einzelsorten/austernpflanze-pflanze

Worried that they would get out of control (and that the slugs would go after them) I put them in a planter.  I don't know whether it was the heat wave or the slugs, but they completely disappeared.  I want to try them again, but may start them in copper rings or something.
 
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It sounds like oyster leaf is pretty fragile, while sea kale is really tough once established. Over three years sea kale will grow from a tiny plant to a 4 foot diameter monster. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE sea kale. I am just concerned that it would outcompete your fragile oyster leaf. If you want to learn more about sea kale, here is a recent blog post I wrote about it: Top 10 Reasons to Love Sea Kale
 
Greg Martin
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Thank you Karl.  I loved your article on sea kale.  I hadn't heard that the roots are such a nice vegetable before....got me wanting to plant a whole bunch more!  Very much appreciated.
 
pollinator
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Unless I am way off, this is french sorrel. Someone mislabeled the seeds. No problem, this is a great vegetable!! I've have no success with the oysterleaf.



This looks like oysterleaf. Note the oval leaves, not the arrowhead of the various large leaf sorrels.

Either way- yum! Does the first picture taste like oysters or lemon?
 
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