Claytonia, commonly known as Spring Beauty, is a genus of about 30 species of flowering plants in the family Montiaceae, native to the Americas and Asia.
They come in various shapes and forms, with both annual and perennial species. The flowers are usually five-petalled and come in shades of white, pink, purple and red. Their natural habitat is woodland, so they enjoy filtered sunlight. Some species are edible and taste really good!
The genus was named after John Clayton (1694 – 1773), a Virginian botanist and plant collector during the Colonial period.
These flowers are among the first to bloom in spring, hence the common name.
Claytonia symbolizes rebirth, resurrection, renewal, and the vital energy that pushes us to move forward.
Interesting facts about Claytonia:
Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)
Claytonia perfoliata, also known as Miner’s Lettuce, is an annual plant that grows up to 30 cm (1 ft) tall, but is usually much smaller.
The plant has pair of leaves that are united together around the stem, forming a perfoliate leaf shape, with small white flowers in the center. The leaves are round, succulent and unusually pretty!
This plant is edible, hence the name, and all parts of the plant can be consumed. It can be eaten either raw or cooked, and is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and iron. It is typically used in winter salads or boiled like spinach.
Its common name dates back to the California Gold Rush, when miners regularly ate it to prevent scurvy, which is caused by vitamin C deficiency.
Miner’s Lettuce will perform best in rich and moist soil, but it’s not fussy about soil type. It likes shady places, especially under trees at the edge of the clearing.
Virginia Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)
Claytonia virginica, commonly known as Virginia Spring Beauty, is a small perennial native to eastern North America, with star-shaped white or pink flowers.
This plant has grass-like, dark green leaves and small, edible tubers that are similar to potatoes. The sweet tubers are a good source of potassium, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C.
The flowers are delicate and small, and grow on thin stems. Each flower has five equal-sized petals, with pink veins that reflect UV light and guide pollinators to the nectar.
Claytonia virginica is great for mass planting, rock gardens and wildflower gardens. It prefers well-drained, moist and organically rich soil, but will tolerate less than optimal conditions.
Annuals, Bulbs, Perennials
The flowers come in shades of white, pink, purple and red.
Spring, Winter, Summer
This plant can grow up to 30 cm (1 ft) tall.
Spring Beauty prefers rich and well-drained soil. The ideal soil pH is between 5.5 and 7.5.