Re: [gardeners] skirret

Kay Lancaster (
Thu, 9 Apr 1998 02:57:14 -0700 (PDT)

Skirret is a Sium species, a member of the Umbelliferae, the carrot
and parsley family, a species not known for dust-like seeds -- I grew
some years ago, and don't remember the seeds, but also don't remember
they were particularly small.  You might want to sow a few in potting
soil in the house, just to check germination... if I'm right, you
may have mislabeled seeds or the aftermath of weevils.  (Margaret, you
do know that the petioles of leaves in the Umbelliferae have that dilated
base, sort of like celery, right?  That may help spot "not Umbelliferae"
if you've got mislabeled seed.)

At any rate, besides mixing with fine sand, finely-sieved soil or
milled sphagnum work better for me as a diluent for sowing fine seeds--
sand often seems to be too dense, and the seeds seem to "float" in it
when I try to sow them.  The smaller soil or sphagnum particles seem
to mix better.

What I do remember most about the skirret was the sweet flavor of the
roots and that wretchedly fibrous core that had to be removed.  There
was a lot of variation from plant to plant in sweetness and size of
the core... looks to me like something that could stand some selective
breeding.  In spite of the fact it's been grown in Europe since
Charlemagne's time.

Kay Lancaster