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Common Name: Oyster Plant
Mertensia maritima is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.20 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Throughout the temperate regions of both hemispheres, including Britain.
Shingle by the sea[
]. Uncommon and declining[
Thrives in nutritionally poor sandy or gravelly soils in a sunny position[
]. Requires a very well-drained soil[
]. Dislikes shade[
Plants are resentful of root disturbance and should be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible[
]. This species is not very easy to cultivate[
Plants are very susceptible to slug damage[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. They are said to taste of oysters[
]. No-one has yet noticed a resemblance to oysters though not many of the tasters have ever eaten oysters! The flavour is fairly bland, the leaf is thick and has a very mucilaginous texture - it is probably this texture that reminds people of oysters[
]. Eaten by the Inuit of Alaska[
Flowers - raw[
Seed - sow as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Spring sown seed is also successful[
]. Germination usually takes place within a month. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in mid spring or early September. With care since the plant resents root disturbance.