An important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies.
Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil in a sunny position.
Sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. A sowing can be made outdoors in situ in mid to late spring if you have enough seeds.
Young leaves - raw or cooked. They are rather bitter and tedious to prepare because the fibrous strands need to be removed before use. It is best not to use the leaf-stalk since this is even more fibrous than the leaf. Many people blanch the leaves in boiling water before using them in salads in order to make them more tender.
Seed - raw or cooked. Very tedious to harvest. The seed can be ground into a meal and mixed with flour. It is very rich in vitamin B1. The whole seeds can be boiled and used like sago.
The dried leaves make an acceptable tea.