SPRING BEAUTY
File Size: 73 KB
 
Claytonia virginica  L.
Montgomery County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 4-12 inches
Family: Portulacaceae - Purslane Family
Flowering Period:   March, April, May
Also Called: Virginia spring beauty.
Stems: Erect or ascending, usually simple, slender, fleshy, glabrous; from solid bulb.
Leaves: Basal leaves stalked, elongated-linear, 2.5 to 8 inches long, 1/5 to 3/5 inch wide, succulent, faintly 3-ribbed, pointed at both ends; stem leaves opposite, short-stalked, linear, 3.5 to 6 inches long.
Inflorescences: Raceme, 5-19 flowered, 1.5 to 6 inches long, terminal; flowers on slender stalks, 1/2 to 1 inch long; bract 1, small, oval, below lowest stalk.
Flowers: Regular, 1/2 to 3/4 inch across; sepals 2, egg-shaped, about 1/4 inch long; tips usually rounded or blunt; petals 5, oval, 1/5 to 3/5 inch long, white or rose with pink or purple veins; tips rounded or blunt; stamens 5, opposite petals; styles 3, united near tip.
Fruits: Capsule, rounded egg-shaped, about 1/6 inch long; seeds 3-6, round, dark brown.
Habitat: Rich, moist woods, thickets, and clearings.
Distribution: East 1/2 of Kansas.
Uses: The bulbs were used as a food source by Native Americans and an infusion of powdered roots was given to children experiencing convulsions.
Comments: One of the earliest blooming wildflowers in the spring. Named in honor of John Clayton, a colonial botanist. Related to portulaca.

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