A place to explore and buy perennial vegetables and other food plants.
I’ve been looking for Reichardia picroides, or Common Brighteyes, for a long time. It is a perennial salad vegetable that appeared on many of the lists I consulted when I first began to collect perennial vegetable plants – but one for which I couldn’t find seed or plants to buy anywhere. Then Twitter came to the rescue. @NaomiNome sent me seeds and I now have a short row of plants in a perennial salad bed I’ve been establishing. Thanks Naomi.
A straggly dandelion look-a-like to be sure – but it gets a good write up on the Plants for a Future database.
Mild and good. A pleasant agreeable flavour with a slight sweetness and very little fibre, it makes a very acceptable lettuce substitute and we use it in large quantities in salads. The older leaves seem to be even nicer, even when the plant is in flower.
I had a good taste today and I think that is a fair description.
The PFAF entry on Reichardia raises a question about hardiness, saying that it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°C, but noting that it will be more resilient to cold in better-drained and/or poorer soils. Chris Smith from Pennard Plants in Somerset has had plants in pots survive -10°C which is encouraging.
Another intriguing comment in the PFAF report is that Reichardia seems to be almost totally slug-proof. Slugs are not much of a problem to the grower of perennial vegetables anyway – but a slug-proof perennial ‘lettuce’ is still worthy of note!
Earlier this year I worried that I had the wrong plant as the leaves on mine seemed less crenated than those on images I found online.
But I think this is just natural variation. The distinctive heart-shaped bracts you can see in the photos of the flowers below are a defining feature of Reichardia picroides.
I collected lots of seed this year. So I hope to be able to offer plants again next spring.