Submitted by Carol on


Watching Beechgrove they had a piece about some unusual herbs.. via

To Carole’s delight, the speciality herbs that she brought back from her visit to Poyntzfield Herb nursery last week were included in the planting. The hardy herbs were: oyster plant ( Mertensia maritime ), which is supposed to taste of the sea and oysters – hence the name, baldmoney ( Meum athamanticum ) tasting like fennel/dill, which was also once used extensively as a sweet root vegetable, Himalayan strawberry, an unusual variety of Chive called ‘Black Isle Blush’ (AGM approved) and a Japanese herb called Sancho. The Japanese use these leaves in rice dishes and the seeds have a real peppery taste.

Most herbs like an open and sunny position. However Carole was planting some Wasabi, Japanese horseradish, and wild garlic, which liked a moist and shady spot. Some artificial shade had been created in the herb garden especially for this purpose.

I looked them up at - one or two off the names in that excerpt above weren't quite right...

  1. Mertensia maritima
    Species of flowering plant in the borage family known by the common names oysterleaf, oysterplant or sea bluebells. It grows on gravel ground in the Northern hemisphere, reaching north to the northern parts of Canada, Greenland and Svalbard. It is a perennial herb producing a stem approaching 50 centimeters in maximum length. The inflorescence forms a cluster of flowers which are first reddish, and later bright blue
    Pictures -
  2. Meum athamanticum
    Ornamental plant in the Apiaceae family. Common names include 'Spignel' and 'Meu'.
    Pictures -
  3. Himalayan strawberry - Fragaria nubicola
    Native to the Hamalaya at altitudes between 2-3,000 metres, this softly haired perennial bears white flowers in May and small red fruits with a pleasant flavour in July.
  4. Chive ‘Black Isle Blush’ - Allium schoenoprasum
    R.H.S. Award of Garden Merit 1995. Poyntzfield Herb's own light mauve flowered variety which 'blushes' with a deep pink flower centre. Use as for common chives.
  5. Sansho - Xanthoxyllum piperitum
    An easily grown hardy deciduous shrub from Japan where the aromatic leaves are popular in dishes like sesame tofu and bamboo-shoot rice. The seed and husks have a pepper-like flavour and are used either ground in a blend of spices- shichimi, or whole as a spice with shoyu to make tsukudani. There are medicinal aspects to this interesting plant ~ 2m