Mertensia maritima is a rare, perennial, creeping plant of the Boraginaceae family. This edible and gourmet plant with an iodized taste has blue-green, slightly crunchy leaves that give off the very characteristic scent of the oyster. It is found under different names: Mertensie maritime, Lungwort of Virginia, Sanguine de mer, Oysterleaf or Sea lungwort.
As soon as you put it in the mouth, the taste resemblance to the mollusk is really striking. It is used in cooking often in combination with fish dishes. It can be eaten raw, cooked or preserved in vinegar like glasswort. In its natural environment, especially on the Normandy coast, Mertensia maritima has almost disappeared following irrational picking.
Today, it is a rare plant and highly prized by restaurateurs, especially great starred chefs. The price of the leaves reaches impressive heights, thus a leaf of Mertensia maritima sells for between 30 and 50 euro cents per unit at the Rungis market! Mertensia maritima can be grown without problem in a pot or in the ground in the garden, it is a perfectly hardy plant. It likes bright or semi-shaded places. The substrate must be quite draining, rich and sandy.