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Synonyms: Claytonia grandiflora.
Claytonia virginica is native to Eastern N. America – Quebec to Texas. A garden escape, locally naturalized in Britain. It grows in rich woods, thickets and clearings. Wetlands, seeps, moist woods, riparian hardwood forests, copses, bluffs, ravines and prairies from sea level to 1000 metres.
Claytonia virginica is a perennial plant, overwintering through a corm. It is a trailing plant growing to 5–40 cm long. The leaves are slender lanceolate, 3–14 cm long and 0.5–1.3 cm broad, with a 6–20 cm long petiole.
The flowers are 0.7–1.4 cm diameter with five pale pink or white (rarely yellow) petals, and reflect UV light. It has a raceme inflorescence, in which its flowers branch off of the shoot. The individual flowers bloom for three days, although the five stamens on each flower are only active for a single day. Flowering occurs between March and May depending on part of its range and weather. The seeds are between 0.2-0.3 cm in diameter and a shiny black. The seeds are released from the capsule fruit when it breaks open. Elaiosomes are present on the seeds and allow for ant dispersal.
It is also a polyploid, having 2n between 12 and 191 chromosomes. The largest number of chromosomes was observed in New York City.
It is in flower from Mar to April, and the seeds ripen in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.
Landscape Uses:Rock garden, Woodland garden. Prefers a damp peaty soil and a position in full sun. Another report says that it requires some shade. Requires a lime-free soil. Special Features:North American native, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant.
Seed – surface sow on a peat based compost in spring in a cold frame. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 4 weeks at 10°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Division of offsets in spring or autumn.
Root – raw or cooked. Rich in starch, it has a pleasant nutty flavour. A radish-like flavour when raw, it tastes like a cross between a potato and a chestnut when cooked. The root is rich in vitamins A and C. The globose tuber is up to 20cm in diameter.Algonquin people cooked them like potatoes. Spring beauty corms along with the entire above ground portion of the plant are safe for human consumption. Leaves and flowering stems – raw or cooked. Added to salads or used as greens. The leaves are often available in the winter.
This plant has been used medicinally by the Iroquois, who would give a cold infusion or decoction of the powdered roots to children suffering from convulsions. They would also eat the raw roots, believing that they permanently prevented conception.A cold infusion or decoction of the powdered roots has been given to children with convulsions.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.