Nipplewort, Lapsana communis
If a plant could change it's own name, then Nipplewort would perhaps be first in the queue to do so! This edible leafy and erect annual is related to the sunflower and is native to Europe and Northern Asia. It can be easily found in woods, hedgerows, waste places and rough ground. It prefers shady places and is common throughout the UK. Nipplewort has oval, spade-shaped toothed leaves and pale yellow flowers looking like miniature dandelion heads that open when exposed to the sun. Nipplewort was likely named due to it's seed capsules resembling nipples in shape, and perhaps, due to it being an astringent, was used to heal chapped nipples. Nipplewort leaves are used as a salad vegetable in Europe and can also be cooked like spinach, or added to soups and stews.
🌳 Deciduous Woodland edges.
🌲 Coniferous Woodland edges.
🐑 Grassland, including paddocks, fields and meadows.
🏡 Urban Green Spaces, including scrubland, parks and gardens.
🚜 Hedgerows, including field edges.
🌸🌞 Apr - Aug
☘️ The toothed, slightly hairy leaves are alternately spaced along the stem and arranged spirally. The larger leaves at the base of the stem are often pinnate, while smaller leaves higher on the stem are a simple oval.
🌷 The flowers resemble miniature dandelions and open when exposed to the sun.
🌱 Erect, hairy, branching stems filled with clear sap.
Fruit / Seeds
🍏 The green seed pods are round and resemble nipples.
Aroma / Taste
👃 Indistinct Aroma
👅 Raw, the leaves are slightly bitter, and taste like spinach when cooked.
🟩 ID Difficulty - Beginner
👀 The erect stature and mini-dandelion-like flowers that close when not exposed to sunlight are the key identifiers of this plant.
🥗 Salad - Can be eaten raw and added to salads.
🥬 Green - Can be cooked as a vegetable.
💊 Herbal Remedy - Is often used medicinally.