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Claytonia virginica 2 Radnor Lake.jpg
Claytonia virginica
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Montiaceae
Genus: Claytonia
Flowers of Claytonia virginica

Claytonia (spring beauty) is a genus of flowering plants native to North America, Central America, and Asia.[1] The genus was formerly included in Portulacaceae[1] but is now classified in the family Montiaceae,[2] primarily native to the mountain chains of Asia and North America, with a couple of species extending south to Guatemala in Central America, and northwest to Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia in eastern Asia.

The genus Claytonia was moved in 2009 from the purslane family (Portulacaceae) with adoption of the APG IV system, which recognised the family Montiaceae. A number of the species were formerly treated in the related genus Montia. A comprehensive scientific study of Claytonia was published in 2006.[3]

Claytonia perfoliata, the species for which the term miner's lettuce was coined, is distributed throughout the Mountain West of North America in moist soils and prefers areas that have been recently disturbed.

The genus Claytonia is named after John Clayton (botanist, died 1773), who collected specimens of various plants in North America and distributed them to botanists in Europe.[4]


As of January 2019, Kew's Plants of the World Online lists 33 accepted species:[2]


The leaves of the spring beauty are rich in vitamins and can be eaten raw or cooked. The roots are in the form of tubers which can be eaten like potatoes.[5]


  1. ^ a b Flora North America
  2. ^ a b "Claytonia L." Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanical Gardens Kew. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  3. ^ Miller, J. M. and K. L. Chambers. 2006. Systematics of Claytonia (Portulacaceae). Systematic Botany Monographs 78: 1-234. ISBN 0-912861-78-9
  4. ^ Information page John Clayton herbarium at Natural History Museum, London UK. It reports that the genus name Claytonia was originated by Johan Frederik Gronovius (died 1762) in recognition that Gronovius had received the relevant specimens from John Clayton (died 1773).
  5. ^ Angier, Bradford (1974). Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. p. 212. ISBN 0-8117-0616-8. OCLC 799792.

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