Corn gromwell, which was previously best known as a common weed in spring cereal crops, could now be grown commercially after Defrabacked research identified its beneficial qualities.
Corn gromwell contains stearidonic acid (SDA), an omega-3 fatty acid that has the potential to be sold as a supplement or included as an ingredient in foods.
The research, carried out by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB TAG) and Technology Crops Limited, found corn gromwell needed few inputs and a low amount of fertiliser and suffers from few pests or disease.
Whereas echium sheds its seeds and needs specialist equipment to harvest, Corn Gromwell is more farmer friendly, and be harvested as a standing crop.
Defra says that there is evidence the SDA produced by corn gromwell can be converted to the same sort of essential fatty acid found in oily fish.