Oyster Plants

One of the most interesting things I learned today was that my bluebell plants are edible. They are the grey-leaved plant, at right, amid the Grape Hyacinth and the white-flowered Rockcress (Arabis procurrens). According to Jean-Luc Muselle, these Bluebells (Mertensia simplissima) taste like oysters. (M. Muselle a dit que leur goût est incroyable !) So that’s why the plant is also called an Oyster Plant.

M. Muselle recommends adding the leaves to salads or served with seafood. He also tells us not to forget to add a pinch of salt to the soil every now and then.

For some reason, this variety of Bluebell thrives in my garden. Tonight I noticed that there are several new baby plants. I started with one and now I have four adult plants and about six new baby plants.

One of my other rock garden plants, Cerastium alpinum var. lanatum, is quietly growing along the path (left pic). It has greyish-woolly leaves that is a favourite with youn children. There’s something compelling about brushing one’s fingers over the leaves … they are like velvet.

I also am pleased because the Gentians seem to be thriving. The small-leaved plant (at right) is, I believe, Gentiana septemfida, while the larger-leaved plant is a Gentiana acaulis (below right) or, at least I think it is.

I really should keep better records of what exactly I am planting where. In my enthusiasm to plant, I often find out as much information as I can about a specific plant, decide where it will fit in the garden and then plant it. Most times, I remember … but not always. Luckily, I enjoy going on a mission to find the name of an elusive plant.

One of the things I adore about plants is that they have minds of their own. Some plants just love self-seeding like this ivy – which remains nameless at present. Iit is an annual that grows amazingly quickly. When it is has grown, I will take a picture and ask if anyone can identify it. It has tiny mauve and white flowers and is some form of Ivy. (In the deepest recesses of my mind, I recollect that it starts with the letter, K)

I am anticipating another warm and sunny day … spring is a wondrous thing. When I make a salad using my Oyster Plant, I will let you all know if it truly does taste like oysters!

11 thoughts on “Oyster Plants

  1. RUTH says:

    I have heard the flowers and root are edible to. I love Gentians…the blue of the flowers is exquisite…they don’t do well in our soil though I think they prefer it more acidic.

  2. Verena says:

    Hi Kate,I love your yellow metall cat from the former post :-)! I have a metall cat too, so I have to show you one day.I know what you meen with self-seeding plants. Every year I notice new violas and snapdragons, which have seed themselves out :-)! It´s really wonderfull what nature can do without our help.Lots of greetings, Verena

  3. Kylee says:

    I wonder if Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are edible. I’ve got lots of those.

  4. Annie in Austin says:

    The leaves on the Mertensia almost look almost like succulents, Kate. The leaves of the Virginia Bluebells go dormant and disappear in the heat of summer. What happens to this plant? Does it have a presence until frost? Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  5. A wildlife gardener says:

    I’d be interested to know, Kate. I love the tiny seeds growing between your pavers…nature does it best!

  6. Simon says:

    Hi Kate,Your oyster plant appears in some recipeshttp://www.grouprecipes.com/654/sesame-salsify.htmlIt seems to also be know as salsify- Yes I was having fun looking it up ;)tcS

  7. Kate says:

    Ruth, I think you are right about the flowers and roots. Gentians are fussy about their soil it seems. I had a much harder time growing them in Ottawa than I do here. Verena – I would love to see your metal cat! I have another one made out of tin in the front flower bed. It isn’t as noticeable since it is dark in colour. I love plants that self-seed. My mum used to call them volunteers. That seemed a perfect word to describe them … brave souls venturing to new places. Kylee, your Virginia Bluebells are edible too. I found a website that talked about Ohio wildflowers and it mentioned they could be eaten. I just don’t know if they taste like seafood. Annie – what I like about this variety is that the plants keep on growing all summer long. They trail across the flower beds although they don’t bloom throughout the summer here. I wish they did. I know the Virginia bluebells die out … I expected this type to as well, but so far they haven’t. They seem to thrive. A wildlife gardener – if I can find a photograph of the plant from last year, I will post it. I have one pot that is filled with babies, but they haven’t grown enough to identify. Oh Simon – I love the way you come with great finds. Thank you for the recipe. I might foist some on you one of these days!!

  8. jodi says:

    Kate, would your ivy be Kenilworth ivy? Have a look at this photo: http://tinyurl.com/35xuac.Been sick for a couple days but did get outside for a little while tonight. Going back to the ship in the next day or two…but we finally have daffodils!

  9. Gotta Garden says:

    Such exquisite things you grow! And, so informative! I have often thought VA Bluebells look like lettuce leaves! Your garden is looking so lush…I love clicking on the pictures and I can practically put my nose in them! Your garden looks like a wonderful peaceful place! I, too, love the bricks filled with green…so pretty! Okay, you’ll have to tell us what you think they taste is like!

  10. Yolanda Elizabet says:

    Well Kate, I for one, am curious to find out whether it really tastes like oysters.Rock plants are great aren’t they, even though most of them are tiny.;-)

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