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Scurvy Grass

Edible Edible Spring Spring Summer Summer

A coastal plant that has made it inland due to salting and gritting of the roads. There are two common species, Common Scurvy Grass and Danish Scurvy Grass.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Scurvy Grass, Common Scurvy Grass, Danish Scurvy Grass
Scientific Name Cochlearia officinalis/danica
Season Start Mar
Season End Aug
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

The leaves start off heartshaped but develop two blunt corners on either side of the leaf forming a sort of five cornered star. The veins are deep and obvious and usually highlighted by dust or mud.

Flowers

Coming from the cabbage family Scurvy Grass has small florets of white to pink cruciform (cross shaped) flowers from April to August.

 

Flower Buds

The buds are green, rugby ball shaped and made of four ‘orange’ like segments and appear from June to September.

Habitat

This is a coastal plant but due to the salting of roads in winter it is now more common besides A roads and motorways.

Possible Confusion

Other species of Scurvy Grass but this would not harm you.

Lesser Celendine, pictured, has similar leaves but the plants grow quite differently and with a small nibble of Celendine you would not get that salty, horseradish taste.

Taste

Like salty mustard or horse radish.

Frequency

Common around the coast and becoming more so inland with salting and gritting the roads in winter and can be found along many A roads in Spring and Summer.

Collecting

The larger leaves can be quite strong and bitter but the smaller, younger leaves used sparingly are good in salads.
The flower buds can be used as capers with a hot taste.

Medicinal Uses

Danish Scurvy Grass, Cochlearia danica and Common Scurvy Grass, Cochlearia officinalis, were used to help prevent scurvy aboard ships as they contain high amounts of vitamin C.
There are several other Scurvy Grass’ in the UK but the two most common are the two mentioned above.

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