KEELED-FRUITED CORNSALAD

LAMB'S LETTUCE

Valerianella carinata

Valerian Family [Valerianaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june

status
statusZarchaeophyte
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8azure inner8blue inner8lilac
morph
morph=HemiZygo
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZumbel
stem
stem8square

4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD


4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD


4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
This specimen succumbing to drought or sunburn.


4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD


4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD


28th April 2011, nr. Throstle Nest Br, Bridgewater Canal. Photo: © RWD
Less than a foot high, when mature it is an open plant arising from a single stem which birfurcates symmetrically a few times. Flowers in clusters atop each stem. Few leaves, in opposite pairs, just below the bifurcations.


28th April 2011, nr. Throstle Nest Br, Bridgewater Canal. Photo: © RWD
Leaves mid-green, long and oblong, with well rounded terminations.


20th April 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Flowers are clustered in small umbels on the periphery of a cup of bracts of un-equal length. Leaves have a prominent mid-rib. Stems square to angular, with very short fine hairs.


20th April 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves in pairs just below every bifurcation in the stems.


28th April 2011, nr. Throstle Nest Br, Bridgewater Canal. Photo: © RWD
From above, the cluster of flowers is surrounded by several leaves/bracts of various lengths, appearing asymmetric. The flowers are exceptionally tiny, being just 1-2mm across.


20th April 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Flowers have five petals of slightly un-even length, the longest preferring to be on the outside of the umbel and which may be arranged in a circle. Thus, although not a true Umbellifer (Apiaceae), the flowers do have some similarities. The leaves/bracts have short hairs on the edge.


28th April 2011, nr. Throstle Nest Br, Bridgewater Canal. Photo: © RWD
The tiny flowers are off-white, tinged lilac or azure to blue. The lilac tinges of the white flowers have the appearance of one of those colour optical illusions based on after-images, neural adaption and opposite colours.


20th April 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
An umbel of flowers, with several flowers in each green-bracted cup, and several cups within a few larger leaves/bracts.


20th April 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The cups containing several flowers each are held above longer bracts/leaves.


4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD


4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The bracts and sepals appear to be nested; the outer two outer pairs largest; two inner bowls of bracts, and encompassed within those bowls many flowers each with their own ring of sepals. For scale, the nut saddled in the Y-fork of the bifurcating stems is about 2mm - 2.7mm in length and just 0.8 - 1.4mm in thickness or width (its not circular in cross-section but more like a Packman).


4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Nestling in between the two pairs is a developing (not yet brown and ripe) nut. The nut is longer than wide by nearly 2:1 and moreover one side has a distinguishing V-groove, forming a (short) 'canoe'. The shape of the nuts is the only way of telling the five Cornsalads apart (Common Cornsalad has nuts which are almost spherical and with slight equatorial ribs). Everthing has short stubby hairs, especially on any edges, such as the edges of the bracts and the edges of the square stems. The nuts contain but one seed each. All the flowers should eventually develop similar nuts; there used to be one where this nut now is.


4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Each floret is flared like a trumpet.


4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Each tiny floret surrounded by tiny sepals. The styles are 3-pronged at the end. They normally have just 3 stamens which have whitish anthers and white pollen.


4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Each flower has 3 stamens with 3 pale-pink anthers and a style with 3 stigmas.


4th May 2016, The Bridge PH, Stretford, Bridgewater Canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Stamens have lost their anthers, but the 3 stigmas are still there. The grainy granular texture of everything at this tiny scale is perhaps to be due to them being individual cells (?)


28th April 2011, nr. Throstle Nest Br, Bridgewater Canal. Photo: © RWD
Un-like Common Cornsalad which has rounded lower stems, Keeled-Fruited Cornsalad has lower stems that are square. Note the ridges with short hairs on each edge.


28th April 2011, nr. Throstle Nest Br, Bridgewater Canal. Photo: © RWD
Basal leaves but two in number, followed quickly by an opposite pair of stem leaves.


Some similarities to : Common Cornsalad and other Cornsalads. Its location on the Sefton Coast precludes it being any of the other less-ubiquitous cornsalads such as Broad-fruited Cornsalad, Hairy-fruited Cornsalad or Narrow-fruited Cornsalad.

No relation to : Corn Buttercup, Corn Marigold, Corn Chamomile, Corncockle, Corn Mint or Salad Burnet [plants with similar names].

Inhabits bare or sparsely grassy earth, rocks, walls and sand dunes, where the above photographs were taken. The flowers are extremely small, less than 2mm across, and appear white but with either blue, azure or lilac patches. It belongs to the Valerian Family, but is not in the same Genus as either Red Valerian nor that of Common Valerian, which are themselves both in differing Genera.


  Valerianella carinata  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Valerianaceae  

Distribution
 family8Valerian family8Valerianaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Valerianella
Valerianella
(Cornsalads)

KEELED-FRUITED CORNSALAD

LAMB'S LETTUCE

Valerianella carinata

Valerian Family [Valerianaceae]

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