Minutina, also known as Erba Stella is a unique, cold weather salad green prized in Italy for its mild nutty flavour and crunchy texture. Resembling a narrow mizuna it develops into a small plant with a delicate rosette of slender green leaves. The narrow leaves have little “horns” along the edges.
Like miner’s lettuce, corn salad, wild rocket and mizuna, Minutina, is very hardy and will stand all winter in an unheated greenhouse. Often planted for winter salads it can tolerate moderate frosts and be grown all winter in temperate climates.
Incredibly easy to grow, sow in rows in the garden or in containers and harvest after just seven weeks at approx 15cm (6in) high. The leaves are at their most delicious when they are in the young and succulent phase. A perennial plant, once harvested new growth often follows again.
Minutina is a great addition to salad mixes for variety in leaf shape and texture, it can be used in oriental dishes and stir fried in or can simply be pan fried with the most basic ingredients. Use as an edible bed for seafood, cooked vegetables and meat medallions, it is an ideal garnish for main entrées and perfect for savory creations.
For the ultimate in simplicity, try pan frying a handful of Minutina leaves in a buttered frying pan with fresh snipped chives and a fresh duck egg cracked on top.
Sowing: Sow March to September for harvesting May to November.
Sow seeds in late winter into pots and place in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.
A sowing can be made outdoors in situ in mid to late spring. Seeds can be sown into a medium sized container.
Though the seeds are tiny, try to sow them sparsely so you don't have to thin them later. After sowing make sure you keep it well watered. The seed usually germinates rapidly.
Thin the plants so that they are finally around 15cm (6in) apart.
Minutina is very adaptable to any soil, provided that they are kept sufficiently moist. You need to water Minutina well to maintain the succulence of its tender leaves; but if you over-water it, it will flop over and rot as if it has grown too tall, while if you under-water it, it will wilt and dry up. Just keep a careful eye on it day to day till you get a sense for what keeps it looking healthy.
Pull up the plants promptly when they start to set seed (they're easy to pull up). Otherwise, you will have a galaxy of plants the following year, and not necessarily where you want them. On the other hand, letting a few plants self-sow in the bed may prove a handy way to ensure a yearly supply of this elfin crop for your winter table.
This great winter salad crop should give a continuous supply of leaves from October to May.
Pick it when it is young and tender, when the leaves are around at 15cm (6in) high. Cut using scissors, but be careful to leave that little nubbin at the base intact. Once harvested new growth often follows again.
This perennial plant is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The flowers are also edible.
Minuta, Plantago coronopus is native to Eurasia and North Africa but can often be found growing wild elsewhere, including the United States, Australia, and New Zealand as an introduced species.
Minuta, Erba Stella or Herba Stella, meaning 'Star Herb', is a unique Italian heirloom. By 1586 it was already regarded as a vegetable. It has long been widely used for the typical Italian salad mixture of wild and cultivated leaves called misticanza, which means "wild greens" that originated in the Marche region of Italy.
Called Bucks Horn, or Buck Horn in England, the slender leaves are forked like the antlers on a deer, hence the name.
It has been grown in America since colonial days, when it was used as a medicinal for fevers.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1 gram Average Seed Count 3,800 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 3,800 seeds per gram Common Name Herba Stella, Bucks Horn Other Common Names Buck Horn Family Plantaginaceae Genus Plantago Species coronopus Hardiness Hardy Perennial Soil It will grow in most soil types.