Claytonia virginica

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Claytonia virginica
Claytonia virginica 2 Radnor Lake.jpg
Eastern spring beauty at Radnor Lake
Conservation status

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Portulacaceae
Genus: Claytonia
Species: C. virginica
Binomial name
Claytonia virginica
L.

Claytonia virginica (L.), the Eastern spring beauty, Virginia spring beauty, or fairy spud, is an herbaceous perennial in the family Portulacaceae. Its native range is Eastern North America.[1] Its scientific name honors Colonial Virginia botanist John Clayton (1694–1773).

Description[edit]

Spring beauty is a perennial plant, overwintering through a corm. It is a trailing plant growing to 5–40 cm long. The leaves are slender lanceolate, 3–14 cm long and 0.5–1.3 cm broad, with a 6–20 cm long petiole.

The flowers are 0.7–1.4 cm diameter with five pale pink or white (rarely yellow) petals,[2] and reflect UV light.[3] It has a raceme inflorescence, in which its flowers branch off of the shoot. The individual flowers bloom for three days, although the five stamens on each flower are only active for a single day.[4] Flowering occurs between March and May depending on part of its range and weather. The seeds are between 0.2-0.3 cm in diameter and a shiny black.[5] The seeds are released from the capsule fruit when it breaks open.[6] An elaiosome is present on the seeds and allow for ant dispersal.[7]

It is also a polyploid, having 2n between 12 and 191 chromosomes. The largest number of chromosomes was observed in New York City.[8]

Habitat and range[edit]

Spring beauty is found in the Eastern temperate deciduous forest of North America[9] It is noted for its abundance throughout many parts of its range, especially in forests. The plant can be found throughout many different habitat types including lawns, city parks, forests, roadsides, wetlands, bluffs, and ravines.[10]

Uses[edit]

This plant has been used medicinally by the Iroquois, who would give a cold infusion or decoction of the powdered roots to children suffering from convulsions.[11] They would also eat the raw roots, believing that they permanently prevented conception.[12] They would also eat the roots as food,[13] as would the Algonquin people, who cooked them like potatoes.[14] Spring beauty corms along with the entire above ground portion of the plant are safe for human consumption.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ USDA Plants, http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CLVI3
  2. ^ Claytonia virginica, Flora of North America, http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=220002996
  3. ^ Schemske, D., M. Willson, M. Melampy, L. Miller, L. Verner, K. Schemske, L. Best. 1978. Flowering ecology of some spring woodland herbs. Ecology. 59(2): 351-366
  4. ^ Schemske, D., M. Willson, M. Melampy, L. Miller, L. Verner, K. Schemske, L. Best. 1978. Flowering ecology of some spring woodland herbs. Ecology. 59(2): 351-366
  5. ^ Claytonia virginica, Flora of North America, http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=220002996
  6. ^ Schemske, D., M. Willson, M. Melampy, L. Miller, L. Verner, K. Schemske, L. Best. 1978. Flowering ecology of some spring woodland herbs. Ecology. 59(2): 351-366
  7. ^ Claytonia virginica, Flora of North America, http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=220002996
  8. ^ Cytogeography of Claytonia virginica and its allies, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2395001?seq=1
  9. ^ USDA Plants, http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CLVI3
  10. ^ Claytonia virginica, Flora of North America, http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=220002996
  11. ^ Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (p. 317)
  12. ^ Herrick, p.318
  13. ^ Waugh, F. W. 1916 Iroquis Foods and Food Preparation. Ottawa. Canada Department of Mines (p. 120)
  14. ^ Black, Meredith Jean 1980 Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in South Western Quebec. Ottawa. National Museums of Canada. Mercury Series Number 65 (p. 84)
  15. ^ Thayer, Samuel (2006). The Forager's Harvest. w5066 State Hwy 86 Ogema, WI 54459: Forager's Harvest. pp. 193–199. ISBN 0976626608. 

External links[edit]

References[edit]