Valerianella radiata (L.) Dufr.

Corn Salad

Valerianella radiata plant

Family - Valerianaceae

Stems - To +50cm tall (typically shorter), herbaceous, angled (the angles minutely winged), hollow, with retrorse pubescence on wing margins, dichotomously branching, erect to ascending.

Leaves - Opposite, sessile. Lowest leaves spatulate, to +/-15cm long. Upper leaves reduced, becoming lanceolate-ovate, coarsely toothed below the middle, clasping. All leaves ciliate-margined (short), glabrous above, with pubescence on midrib below.

Valerianella radiata leaves

Inflorescence - Terminal dychasia, subtended by small lanceolate-ovate to lance-linear bracts. Flowers sessile. Bracts ciliate-margined.

Valerianella radiata inflorescenceInflorescence.

Flowers - Corolla white, funnelform, 5-lobed. Corolla tube to 1.1mm long. Lobes rounded. Stamens typically 3, opposite corolla lobes, exserted, white. Style white, glabrous, exserted, 3-lobed. Ovary inferior, 3-locular, glabrous in flower. Capsule pubescent, to +/-2mm long. Locules (cells) of capsule asymetrical in cross section. The fertile cell broad and compressed. The sterile cells round and together equaling the width of the fertile cell.

Valerianella radiata flowersFlowers.

Valerianella radiata graphicMy somewhat lame attempt at a graphic of the capsule in cross section showing the fertile and sterile cell orientation and relative shape.

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Prairies, pastures, wet meadows, valleys, creek beds, glades, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is a very common plant throughout most of Missouri except the extreme northern portion of the state.
I made the computer graphic of the fruit in cross section because this is a key characteristic used in identifying different species of Valerianella.
Steyermark lists three varieties of this species in Missouri all based on fruit cell size. I won't go into those here.
The plant is also variable in its size, leaf size and shape, and amount of pubescence.

Photographs taken in the Hercules Glade Wilderness, Mark Twain National Forest, Taney County, MO., 4-28-00.