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

See text

Claytonia (spring beauty) is a genus of 27 species of flowering plants formerly included in Portulacaceae but now classified in the family Montiaceae, 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 Kasakhstan, 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 Montiaceae family. A number of the species were formerly treated in the related genus Montia. A comprehensive scientific study of Claytonia has been published.[1]

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 which have been recently disturbed. The species got its name due to its use as a fresh salad green by miners in the 1849 Gold Rush in California.

Now known as a Calandrinia, Claytonia balonensis (Balonnensis) is recorded in the 1889 book 'The Useful Native Plants of Australia as being called "periculia" by Indigenous Australians and that the plant was eaten by Europeans with bread while Indigenous Australians used it as a food when mixed with baked bark. "The seed is used for making a kind of bread, after the manner of that of Portulaca oleracea. (Mueller, Fragm., x., 71.)."[2]



  1. ^ Miller, J. M. and K. L. Chambers. 2006. Systematics of Claytonia (Portulacaceae). Systematic Botany Monographs 78: 1-234. ISBN 0-912861-78-9
  2. ^ J. H. Maiden (1889). The useful native plants of Australia : Including Tasmania. Turner and Henderson, Sydney. 

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