Claytonia perfoliata

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Claytonia perfoliata
Claytonia perfoliata 6641.JPG
Claytonia perfoliata subsp. perfoliata in Washington Park, Anacortes, Washington
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Montiaceae
Genus: Claytonia
Species: C. perfoliata
Binomial name
Claytonia perfoliata
Synonyms[1]
  • Claytonia cubensis Bonpl.
  • Claytonia spathulata Douglas nom. illeg.
  • Limnia angustifolia (Greene) Rydb.
  • Limnia carnosa (Greene) A. Heller ex Rydb.
  • Limnia mexicana Rydb.
  • Limnia perfoliata (Donn ex Willd.) Haw.
  • Limnia spathulata (Douglas ex Hook.) A. Heller
  • Montia mexicana (Rydb.) Pax & K. Hoffm.
  • Montia perfoliata (Donn ex Willd.) Howell
  • Montia spathulata (Douglas ex Hook.) Howell

Claytonia perfoliata (syn. Montia perfoliata), also known as Indian lettuce, spring beauty, winter purslane, or miner's lettuce, is a flowering plant in the Montiaceae family. It is a fleshy, herbaceous annual plant native to the western mountain and coastal regions from southernmost Alaska and central British Columbia all the way south to Central America, but most common in California in the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin Valleys.

Together with Claytonia parviflora and Claytonia rubra, C. perfoliata comprises what is almost certainly a polyploid pillar complex based on three diploid species.[2] Two key studies on the population ecology and genetics of the C. perfoliata complex were published in 2012.[3][4]

Description[edit]

Claytonia perfoliata is a tender rosette-forming plant that grows to a maximum of 40 centimetres (16 in) in height, but mature plants can be as short as 1 centimetre (0.39 in). The cotyledons are usually bright green (rarely purplish- or brownish-green), succulent, long and narrow. The first true leaves form a rosette at the base of the plant, and are 0.5 to 4 centimetres (0.20 to 1.57 in) long, with a typically long petiole (exceptionally up to 20 centimetres (7.9 in) long).

The small pink or white flowers have five petals 2 to 6 millimetres (0.079 to 0.236 in) long. The flowers appear from February to May or June, and are grouped 5–40 together. The flowers grow above a pair of leaves that are connected together around the stem so as to appear as a single circular leaf. Mature plants form a rosette; they have numerous erect to spreading stems that branch from the base.

C. perfoliata is common in the spring time, and prefers a cool, damp environment. The plant first appears in sunlit areas after the first heavy rains of the year, though the best stands are found in shaded areas, especially in the uplands, into early summer. As the days get hotter and drier, the leaves turn a deep red color as they dry out.

Subspecies[edit]

There are three well-studied geographical subspecies of C. perfoliata:[5]

Uses[edit]

Claytonia perfoliata, or "miner's lettuce", served as a salad

The very common name of "miner's lettuce" refers to how the plant was used by California Gold Rush miners, who ate it to prevent scurvy.[citation needed] It can be eaten as a leaf vegetable. Most commonly, it is eaten raw in salads, but it is not quite as delicate as actual lettuce that is cultivated. Sometimes it is boiled like spinach, which it resembles in taste and chemical composition. Caution: C. perfoliata can sometimes accumulate toxic amounts of soluble oxalates.[6]

It has been widely naturalized in western Europe, after being introduced there in the eighteenth century, possibly by the naturalist Archibald Menzies, who brought it to Kew Gardens in London in 1794.[7][8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Plant List: A working list of all plant species". Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Missouri Botanic Garden. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  2. ^ Miller, J. M. and K. L. Chambers. 2006. Systematics of Claytonia (Portulacaceae). Systematic Botany Monographs 78: 1-236 ISBN 0-912861-78-9
  3. ^ McIntyre, P. J. 2012. Cytogeography and genome size variation in the Claytonia perfoliata (Portulacaceae) polyploid complex. Annals of Botany (Oxford) 110(6): 1195-203.
  4. ^ McIntyre, P. J. 2012. Polyploidy associated with altered and broader ecological niches in the Claytonia perfoliata (Portulacaceae) species complex. American Journal of Botany 99(4): 655-62.
  5. ^ Miller, J. M and K. L. Chambers. 2006. Systematics of Claytonia (Portulacaceae). Systematic Botany Monographs 78: 1-236. ISBN 0-912861-78-9
  6. ^ "Miner's Lettuce". UC IPM Online. UC Davis.
  7. ^ Hank Shaw (March 7, 2011). "Foraging for Miner's Lettuce, America's Gift to Salad". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
  8. ^ Archibald Menzies (1923). Menzies' Journal of Vancouver's Voyage, April to October, 1792 [extract]. W. H. Cullin Printers. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  • McIntyre, P. J. 2012. Cytogeography and genome size variation in the Claytonia perfoliata (Portulacaceae) polyploid complex. Annals of Botany (Oxford) 110(6): 1195-203.
  • McIntyre, P. J. 2012. Polyploidy associated with altered and broader ecological niches in the Claytonia perfoliata (Portulacaceae) species complex. American Journal of Botany 99(4): 655-62.

External links[edit]