This native annual is a common weed in the Southeast and parts of the Mid-West where it is found in disturbed areas such as abandoned fields, meadows, and waste areas. It prefers sunny moist sites but tolerates less and tends to form large colonies that look quite attractive when they bloom in spring. A related species, Valerianella locusta, is native to Europe andcultivated there as a salad green.
Plants first appears in the fall when a slender branching taproot produces a rosette of leaves that remain green all winter. In spring a central stem grows six to eighteen inches tall, sometimes branching in the upper half of the plant. The leaves are one inch wide and up to three inches long. They are opposite and usually clasp the four sided stem. In mid to late spring each stem produces four to twelve white flowers in a flat cluster ½ to ¾ inch across. The bloom time lasts about a month and is followed by seeds production. Reproduction is only by seed.
The plants are easy to hand pull and tops can be easily cut off with a hoe. Since beaked corn salad reproduces only by seed, removing the above ground plant parts before seed production will eliminate it.