Heart Shell

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

heart shell Glossus (Isocardia) humanus, a bivalve which has the shape of a human heart. Linnaeus, observing this, called it Cardium humanum, and its common names in most languages reflect the resemblance. However, the Dutch are out of line with zots-kappen, meaning fool’s cap, and English fishermen are recorded as having used the names Torbay nose and oxhorn cockle.

The heart shell is akin to a cockle, and is sometimes called heart cockle, but it is not a true cockle. Its size can be as much as 10 cm (4"); and its range is from Iceland and Norway to the Mediterranean.