Lamb’s lettuce originally comes from Europe. It is a delicious choice for salads and combines nicely with a wide variety of ingredients. It is often used to add texture to green salads.
From Wikipedia: “Valerianella locusta is a small annual plant that is eaten as a leaf vegetable. It has a characteristic nutty flavor, dark green color, and soft texture, and is popularly served as salad greens. Common names include corn salad, common cornsalad, lamb's lettuce, mâche, fetticus, feldsalat, nut lettuce, field salad, and rapunzel. In restaurants that feature French cooking, it may be called doucette or raiponce, as an alternative to mâche, by which it is best known. In German-speaking Switzerland it is known as Nüsslisalat or Nüssler, terms that have been borrowed by the area's many English-speakers.”
“Corn salad grows in a low rosette with spatulate leaves up to 15.2 cm long. It is a hardy plant that grows to zone 5, and in mild climates it is grown as a winter green.
In warm conditions it tends to bolt to seed, producing much-branched stems with clusters (cymes) of flowers. The flowers have a bluish-white corolla of five fused petals, 1.5 to 2 mm (0.06 to 0.08 in) long and wide, and three stamens. Underneath the flowers is a whorl of bracts. Fertilized flowers produce achenes with 2 sterile chambers and one fertile chamber.”
Distribution and habitat:
“Corn salad grows wild in parts of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. In Europe and Asia it is a common weed in cultivated land and waste spaces. In North America it has escaped cultivation and become naturalized on both the eastern and western seaboards.
As a cultivated crop, it is a specialty of the region around Nantes, France, which is the primary producer of mâche in Europe.”
“Like other formerly foraged greens, corn salad has many nutrients, including three times as much vitamin C as lettuce, beta-carotene, B6, iron, and potassium. It is best if gathered before flowers appear.”
“In its cultivated form, lamb’s lettuce is eaten as a green leafy salad. It has a strong flavor and some varieties have a taste that are reminiscent of hazelnut.*”
Note (italics): * = Translation from a German Wikipedia article