scurvy – grass

Cochlearia officinalis, or Common Scurvygrass, scurvy-grass and spoonwort is a flowering plant of the genus Cochlearia in the family Brassicaceae. The plant acquired its common name from the observation that it cured scurvy, and it was taken on board ships in dried bundles or distilled extracts. Its very bitter taste was usually disguised with herbs and spices. Scurvy-grass grows in the coastal and mountainous regions of Europe, including the Alps. In Ireland, it prefers saltmarshes, coastal cliffs and walls, and rocky, muddy seashores. In Northern Scandinavia, it grows in gravel beaches, crevices in beach cliffs and salt marshes. Rich in vitamin C, this is a well sailed plant known not only to the Vikings, who swore by it for the prevention of scurvy. In the 1850’s scurvy grass extract was a fashionable breakfast drink, much like orange juice today. Despite ground frost, this plant does not loose its crunch, or its tangy cress-like flavour