A Salad By Any Other Name

It's been great to have so many Salad Challenge and #saladchat participants from across the globe this year :)

Therefore, I've had this post on my 'To Do' list for a while as I've found sometimes we don't speak the same language. For example, I've been contributing to Niki's next book and quite often had to look up Canadian/USA names to make sure she understood which crops I was talking about.

So here's a handy guide to the naming of salad leaves. You may have something to add, so do pitch in with your comments below.

Common Name used in UK Latin Name AKA and Notes
Alfalfa Medicago sativa Lucerne, Purple medick
Amaranth Amaranthus sp. Calaloo, Chinese spinach
Beetroot Beta vulgaris 
Carrot  Dauca carota
Chard & Perpetual spinach Beta vulgaris var. cicla Chard: Swiss Chard, Silverbeet; Perpetual spinach: spinach beet
Chicory Cichorium indybus Types include: Sugar loaf; Witloof or Belgian; Radicchio (red varieties)
Chinese broccoli Brassica oleracea var. algoglabra Chinese kale, Gai laan, Kai lan
Chinese cabbage Brassica rapa Pekinensis Group Chinese leaves, Napa cabbage
Coriander Coriandrum sativum Cilantro, Chinese parsley
Endive Cichorium endivia Frisee, staghorn, cut-leaved (curly leaved); Batavian, escarole, scarole (broad leaved); Chicory (in non-English speaking countries)
Florence fennel Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce Sweet fennel, Finocchio
Kale Brassica oleracea Acephala Group Borecole
Komatsuna Brassica rapa Perviridis Group Mustard spinach
Lamb's Lettuce Valerianella locusta Corn Salad, Mache
Land Cress Barbarea verna American Land Cress, Upland cress
Lettuce Lactuca sativa plus variants e.g. L. sativa longifolia = cos lettuce. The Constant Gardener has written a handy guide to the different types of lettuce
Mibuna Brassica rapa var. nipposinica Same latin name as Mizuna, but leaves are strap-like, rather than deep serrations
Mizuna Brassica rapa var. nipposinica Kyona, Potherb mustard
Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus Also the tuberous rooted Nasturtium, Tropaeolum tuberosus (mashua) has edible flowers
Orache Atriplex hortenis Mountain spinach
Oriental Mustards Brassica juncea
Pak choi Brassica rapa Chinensis Group Celery mustard, Bok choy
Pea (shoots) Pisum sativum
Radish Raphanus sativus Spring/summer grown radish is known as radish, but the latin name also encompasses winter radishes such as Mooli (aka Daikon in Japan)
Rocket Eruca  sativa spp. sativa Arugula, Mediterranean salad rocket, Roquette, Rucola
Sorrel Rumex sp. Rumex acetosa = common, garden, broad-leaved (and wrongly French) sorrel; Rumex scutatus = true French or Buckler-leaved sorrel
Spinach Spinacea oleracea
Tatsoi Brassica rapa var. rosularis Spinach mustard, Spoon mustard, Rosette bok choy, Rosette pak choi
Texsel greens Brassica carinata Texel greens
Tree spinach Chenopodium giganteum
Watercress Nasturtium officinale
Summer/ Winter Purslane Montia  perfoliata (was Claytonia perfoliata) Claytonia, Miner's Lettuce; Summer purslane seems to have Golden and Green varieties
Sources: Plants for a Future; The Organic Salad Garden by Joy Larkcom & Wikipedia

They may be salads by any other name, but which ones taste as sweet? * For Florence fennel, the clue's in the latin name, because dulce means sweet.

NB, the above table doesn't include all our favourite varieties. See previous posts for our top lettuce and other leaf recommendations :)

* = with apologies to William Shakespeare. A salad taste guide is in the pipeline...


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