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Common Name: Dittander
Lepidium latifolium is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.20 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia.
Salt marshes and wet sands[
] on the south and east coasts[
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils in sun or light shade. Plants have been surviving quite happily with us, and are still spreading freely, in dense grass that is rarely cut[
Dittander was formerly cultivated as a food condiment in Britain and in ancient Greece[
]. It is a very invasive plant, capable of spreading more than a metre per year by means of its aggressive root system[
]. It produces new growth early in the year and so can be a useful salad ingredient in late winter[
Young leaves - raw or cooked[
]. A very hot cress-like flavour[
]. The leaves are nice when used in small quantities as a flavouring in salads[
]. Some reports also suggest using them as a potherb[
], though they have always seemed to be too strong for us to want to try this[
]. The leaves are available very early in the year[
Root - it can be grated and made into a sauce which is used as a horseradish substitute[
]. It has a pungently hot flavour.
Seed - used as a condiment[
The plant is antiscorbutic, depurative and stomachic[
]. An infusion of the plant is used in the treatment of liver and kidney diseases, it increases cardiac amplitude, decreases frequency and regulates the rhythm[
]. It is also used as a resolvent in the treatment of skin diseases[
Used as an insecticide[
]. No further details are given, but it is likely to be a strong infusion of the leaves and stems that is used.
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the spring.
Division in spring. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions. Division is very simple and succeeds at almost any time of the year[