Monday, March 12, 2012

Claytonia virginica

Claytonia virginica, familiarly called spring beauty, is such a common plant here that whole hillsides where it grows are covered with its flowers during its brief blooming period. A few weeks later the shiny black seeds ripen and then the plants are gone above ground for the rest of the year. Below ground a miniature potato-like structure keeps things going until next year.

Claytonia belongs to the same botanical family as Portulaca, Montia, Lewisia, Talinum and Phemeranthus and with all of these it shares a sort of waxy, turgid succulence. The leaves have the same curiously  rubbery, floppy quality felt in the native "aloe", Agave virginica (Manfreda virginica), although they are much smaller.

No comments: