ALAINN: “BEAUTIFUL, FINE, LOVELY”. (IRISH) OLD IRISH ÁLAIND‎

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Skirret (Sium sisarum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Skirret
Sium sisarum
Umbelliferae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Root – raw or cooked[2, 4, 14, 33]. Firm, sweet and floury[27] but with a small woody core[160, K]. The roots have a very acceptable taste raw, that is somewhat like a cross between carrots and parsnip but with a nutty flavour. They can also be boiled, baked or added to soups etc[183, K].

    The roasted root has been used as a coffee substitute[46, 61, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow late winter to early spring in a cold frame[1, 33]. It can be slow to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if they are large enough. Otherwise, grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in the following spring. The seed is best sown in early April in situ[1, 33]. Division in early spring just before new growth begins. Use the side roots to produce new plants[1]. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
Prefers a light, rich, moisture retentive soil in full sun[1, 33, 37]. Requires an abundance of moisture in the growing season or the roots will be tough[27, 37]. Plants are tolerant of some shade[244]. Plants seem to be resistant to all insects and diseases[160]. Skirret was at one time often grown for its edible root but has fallen into virtual disuse[2, 50, 61]. This is a shame since the root is very tasty, easy to grow and relatively productive[K]. The form S. sisarum sisarum should be used, its root is fleshy and succulent, S. sisarum lancifolium. (Bieb.) Thell. is sometimes offered but is unlikely to produce roots of culinary quality[200].
Original habitat is obscure, possibly in E. Europe or Asia.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.