If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

03 October, 2015

Common Cornsalad: lambs lettuce

There are some difficult challenges for the casual nature enthusiast where botanical knowledge is, shall we say, sketchy! That is the case with me, I can cope with some of the dandelion/hawkweed issues but then species like the cornsalads are beyond me. I label all cornsalads I find as common cornsalad (Valerianella locusta) whereas, in reality, it is possible that they could be one of the others.
Cornsalads are members of the Valerian family and are generally small plants each with small clusters of blue or violet coloured flowers. There are five similar species and there are differences in structure but examination of the seeds (or fruits) is the only real way to come up with a certain identification. Common cornsalad is, indeed, by far the most common and then narrow-fruited, keeled-fruited, broad-fruited and hairy-fruited can all be found in Dorset although broad-fruited I believe is more likely to be found in Hampshire.
All of these species grow on arable land as well as places where the soil is bare and where Common Cornsalad: lambs lettuce