Not something that we find growing in this neck of the woods, but in north Cornwall thriving on unshaded road verges. Once a staple of kitchen gardens, and apparently a native of the Mediterranean introduced by the Romans.
In ‘Food for Free’ Richard Mabey suggests pickling the flowers, using young leaves in salads and cooking blanched pink stems like asparagus. I didn’t try the leaves so I can’t report on the flavour, but it was certainly popular with a wide variety of insects.
One plant I examined had this…..
….thing….quite large, pink-striped, not a leaf I don’t think?