|Monday Melange: Spring Beauty|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Monday, 25 March 2013|
Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) is a pretty perennial wildflower that is among the first to bloom in spring, typically from March to May. A member of the Purslane plant family (Portulacaceae), its range extends from Vermont south to Georgia and across to Texas and Nebraska. Its range also extends north into eastern Canada but not including the Maritime Provinces. It is hardy between USDA zones 3 and 8. Carolina Beauty (C. carolina) is found in the southern states and the flowers are similar in appearance.
The delicate flowers of Spring Beauty have five petals and bright pink stamens. Measuring 1/2 to 3/4 inches across, the flower petals are white with pink stripes, making the flowers appear almost pink in color. Occasionally pink flowers are found as well. After the flowers finish blooming, the plant dies back and becomes dormant until the following spring.
Preferring woodland habitats with rich, organic, well-drained soils and dappled sunlight, the diminutive Spring Beauty grows to a height of 3 to 6 inches. It naturalizes easily via underground tubers or corms, and in optimal growing conditions may be somewhat invasive. The corms are edible and taste similar to chestnuts, but due to their small size may not be worth the effort of collecting.
Spring Beauty is ideal for rock gardens, woodland gardens, under tree canopies, and if you donít mind them taking over in early spring, in the lawn. Spring Beauty may be confused with Star of Bethlehem, which is more coarse in appearance and more aggressive. Spring Beauty is listed as endangered in Massachusetts and historical in Rhode Island. C. virginica var. Hammondiae is listed as endangered in New Jersey.
Photo source: www.lakeshorepreserve.wisc.edu, www.delawarewildflowers.org