I have written about this Italian plant once before on the Hills and Plains Seedsavers blog and, although I have now grown it in my garden in Tasmania, I am not much further advanced in using it or understanding it. I sowed it last autumn and over winter it did not amount to much at all. In fact I thought I had lost it as there was supposed to be a whole row of them. Eventually I discovered I had one tiny plant growing.
From time to time I picked a couple of leaves to add to a salad and then it went to seed in late spring (that part is tied up in the blue string). I thought it was an annual.... but then it started to grow again and now is quite a nice, fine-leafed "bush" and seems to be flowering once more! One or both of us is very confused.
Information about it is quite sketchy, some sites saying it is an annual and some a perennial. Info I have read online says that it is only grown in Italy but I have surprise for them..... Liz has it in her garden here in Cygnet but did not know it was edible and calls it something different..... which I now cannot remember. You can see its little bonnet flowers in this photo and you can see that it has some dry seed heads at the same time as new flowers.
I chopped up a good handful of stems and leaves tonight and put it in my soup. It is very mild and the stems are crisp and not at all stringy. I have now saved some seed from tiny little spherical "pills" inside the brown seed heads. It is ever so dainty and would make a lovely informal edge to a garden bed.
Thanks to Emma's comment, here is some further information which may be the reason I did not find many seeds, and may mean my seeds are not viable.