It would be a great project to select Sonchus oleraceus…for new improved yielding and special forms like was done with wild chicory aIt would be a great project to select Sonchus oleraceus…for new improved yielding and special forms like was done with wild chicory and other vegetables… Last winter somebody found seed of an amazing frilly sow thistle being sold in an on-line chinese vegetabe catalogue….too good to be true…I should have noticed that the seed weren’t Sonchus when I sowed them…it seems it’s just an endive :( Lost in translation?
I read some 15 years ago (but would love a proper reference*) that the Victorians (and some more recent jokers too) were fond of practical jokes and would add various plant parts that resembled caterpillars, snails, worms etc to their salads. I call them collectively joke plants. I should grow them again…I love humour in the garden :)
I couldn’t resist these two packets in a Chinese seed catalogue someone tipped me about. Never seen common sow thistle seed for sale (first picture), perhaps a cultivar?…and the second is Sonchus brachyotus, which I’ve never seen seed of before, but mention in the book “Another closely related perennial species, S. brachyotus, is used by farmers in northern Jiangsu. The young rosettes are washed, mixed with wheat flour, steamed, cooled, seasoned with mashed garlic, chopped onion, salt, vinegar and soy sauce (no doubt disguising the bitter taste suggested by the name, Bitter Wheat-field Herb, in the process).”
One of the members of Norwegian Seed Savers emailed me that she was going to Russia and would I like any seed….now, I have genetic defect that leads to me not being able to say no to seed…so I said yes please and if you find any perennials like cutivars of sorrel (Rumex acetosa) I’d be particularly interested. The package arrived today. I had never imagined I was saying yes to 40 packets and there was one packet of Rumex acetosa, a variety called Schavel (Sorrel) “Belvijsky”. I’m wondering if this could possibly be the elusive French cultivar “Belleville” which I mention in my book?