Claytonia sibirica (candy flower, Siberian spring beauty, Siberian miner's lettuce, or pink purslane) is a flowering plant in the family Montiaceae, native to the Commander Islands (including Bering Island) of Siberia, and western North America from the Aleutian Islands and coastal Alaska south through the Queen Charlotte Islands, Vancouver Island, Cascade and Coast Ranges, to a southern limit in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Populations are also known from the Wallowa Mountains, Klamath Mountains, northern Idaho, and The Kootenai. A synonym is Montia sibirica. The plant was introduced into the United Kingdom by the 18th century, where it has become very widespread.
Habitat and description
It is found in moist woods. It is long-lived perennial, biennial, or annual with hermaphroditic flowers which are protandrous and self-fertile. The numerous fleshy stems form a rosette and the leaves are linear, lanceolate, or deltate. The flowers are 8–20 mm diameter, with five white, candy-striped, or pink petals, flowering is between February and August.
The species is now found in most of the UK, especially the west and north. It continues to spread but is not considered invasive. However, it is reported to cause local problems due to its growth timing. The fleshy leaves appear early in the season and then collapse and may suppress the growth of later species.
The Stewarton flower
An example of the variation found in Claytonia sibirica is the subspecies known as the Stewarton flower, so named due to its local abundance in that part of North Ayrshire, Scotland and recorded as such by the Kilmarnock Glenfield Ramblers.
In 1915 it was stated to have been in the Stewarton area for over 60 years and was abundant on the Corsehill Burn. As the plant is very adept at reproducing by asexual plantlets, this has maintained the white varieties gene pool around Stewarton. The pink variety has not been able to predominate here, and only occurs occasionally, unlike most other localities in Scotland. The white variety predominates in Templeton Woods Dundee with occasional clumps of the pink variety.
- BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- Dickie, T. W. (1915), Robertland, 10/07/1915. Annals of the Kilmarnock Glenfield Ramblers Society. 1913 - 1919. P. 110.
- Miller, J. M. and K. L. Chambers. 2006. Systematics of Claytonia (Portulacaceae). Systematic Botany Monographs 78: 1-236. ISBN 0-912861-78-9
- "Pink Purslane, Claytonia sibirica". GB Non-native species secretariat. FERA, GB Non-native species secretariat. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
- Nyerges, Christopher (2017). Foraging Washington: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Foods. Guilford, CT: Falcon Guides. ISBN 978-1-4930-2534-3. OCLC 965922681.