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Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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Easily grown in an ordinary well-drained garden soil. Succeeds in any well-drained low-fertility soil so long as it is in a sunny position. A very ornamental plant, it is occasionally cultivated for its edible leaves. It is not very hardy in Britain and will be killed even by a light frost. It is, therefore, usually grown as a half-hardy annual, being sown in a greenhouse in the spring and used for summer bedding. Plants have few problems with pests or diseases though the young plants are prone to root rot and damping off unless given plenty of ventilation and dry growing conditions.
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse, only just covering the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Seedlings are prone to damp off so should not be over watered and should be kept in a very sunny well-ventilated position.
S. Africa. Introduced and naturalized in S. Europe.
Maritime sands and salt marshes.
Leaves and stems - raw or cooked. They can be used as a spinach substitute. The leaves have an acid flavour, they are thick and very succulent with a slightly salty tang. They can also be pickled like cucumbers or used as a garnish. Fruit. No more details are given. Seed - a famine food used when all else fails.
The crushed foliage is a soap substitute.
The plant is demulcent and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of inflammations of the pulmonary and genito-urinary mucous membranes. The leaves are used in the treatment of ascites, dysentery and diseases of the liver and kidney.
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