|Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima||Amaranthaceae||Sea Beet|
Description - A sprawling dark green plant with hints of red on stems and reddish flower-spike. The leaves are thick and shiny with a strong midrib, and flower spikes long and wavy, the tiny flowers stalkless and with no petals, but yellow stamens when in full flower.
Habitat - All around the coast, on bare ground, path edges, and in coastal grassland. It can occur inland, either on roadsides where salt is spread in winter, e.g. east wing of the Reservoir, or in gardens where the owner has used seaweed as a fertiliser.
Comments - This is the ancestor of the garden beetroot, also related to spinach. It is one of our best "wild foods" and is frequently eaten by those who know it. You can cook it like spinach, just chop it up and steam for a few minutes. The flavour is not as strong, and it is already salted. Don't forget to pick plenty as it cooks down to very little; this is not a problem as it is very common.
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