Large double flowers in shades of pink, white, rose, salmon and crimson which appear from June to August. 60cm.
Prefers a well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position. Does not do well on wet clay soils but succeeds in most other soils.
Plants usually self-sow freely when growing in suitable conditions so long as the soil surface is disturbed.
Sow spring or autumn in situ.
Some caution is advised, this plant is toxic to mammals, though the toxicity is low. The seed is not toxic.
Seed - raw or cooked. Much used as a flavouring in cakes, bread, fruit salads etc, it imparts a very nice nutty flavour. The seeds are rather small, but they are contained in fairly large seed pods and so are easy to harvest. The seeds are perfectly safe to eat, containing none of the alkaloids associated with other parts of the plant.
Leaves - raw or cooked. Used like spinach or as a flavouring in soups and salads. The leaves should not be used after the flower buds have formed.
An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Said to be an excellent substitute for olive oil, it can be used in salad dressings or for cooking. A syrup can be prepared from the scarlet flower petals, it is used in soups, gruels etc.