- Author: Betty Homer
Last summer, while touring a hydroponic urban farm in Oakland, I discovered an unfamiliar salad green that I have to come to love--French Sorrel (Rumex scutatus) which is native to south central Europe and southwest Asia. This plant has a surprising taste—it has a strong, lemony kick. Up until this time, the only thing that I had known about sorrel of any kind, was that it grew in the rolling hillsides that dot Highway 12 in Solano County and that the sheep that graze out there, love their sorrel.
French Sorrel is an easy-to-care for perennial. From my experience in having grown it for a year in my yard in Suisun, I have found that it is not fussy nor does not seem to be susceptible to disease or pestilence. The only thing I have had to do is cut off the flowers as the plant begins to “bolt” (not bolt in the truest sense like with lettuce where the lettuce leaves turn bitter). As for growth habit, French Sorrel grows approximately 1 foot tall and 3 feet wide. It requires full sun to part shade, and moist, well-drained soil. You harvest the leaves as needed (“cut and come again”) and it does not take long before the plant regenerates more leaves.
This plant lives to give. Locally, I purchased mine from Morningsun Herb Farm in Vacaville, although like most plants, it is not always stocked.