This very common weed is well known to almost everyone and is a nightmare to most gardeners. It was apparently introduced by the Romans as a food plant and it is very good to eat if you can find a succulent enough patch of it.

It grows most luxuriantly in a shady place with a rich soil and plenty of moisture as in the photograph where it is just starting to flower.

It is not to everyone's taste as it has a strong and quite distinctive flavour, but I find the fresh young leaves to be very pleasant either raw in a salad, or steamed as a cooked vegetable. You can see some darker green leaves to the right. These are the young leaves. The older leaves are slightly more blue and are less shiny. Only thing wrong with the older leaves is that they can be a little fibrous and tough. Young flowering peduncles are fine to eat too.

Of course if you don't like the flavour, you can always add it in small amounts either to a salad or other greens.

Ground elder is also called goutweed as it was used to treat gout. It has other health benefits so is probably worth including occasionally in healthy salads. <

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