Claytonia perfoliata Don ex Willd. (Montia perfoliata [Don ex Willd.] Howell)
Somewhat succulent annual or short-lived perennial herb with a slender taproot. Several flowering stems, ascending to erect, leafy, 5-30 cm tall. Numerous basal leaves, narrowly spoon-shaped to lance- or egg-shaped, long-stalked, 2-10 cm long. Two stem leaves, opposite and usually fused, forming a disk around the stem above mid-length. Flowers white or pinkish, stalked, nodding; two sepals; five petals 3-7 mm long; several to many flower clusters 1-8 cm long above the leaf disc (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994). Photo by Moralea Milne.
spring beauty, winter purslane
Moist (at least in spring), open to shady, often sandy, forests, thickets, meadows. Common at low to medium elevations (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994). Southern B.C. east to Alberta and south through the Rocky Mountain and Pacific states to California (Young, 2001).
Grows on a variety of substrates including sand, riverine silts, gravel, rock crevices, talus and scree; also found on burned sites (USDA, Forest Service Fire Effects Information System).
Dry to fresh (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994).
Shade tolerant on drier sites, moderately shade intolerant on moist sites (USDA, Forest Service Fire Effects Information System).
Facultative seral species. Occurs at all seral stages, often colonizing disturbed sites after fire (USDA, Forest Service Fire Effects Information System).
Plants grazed by small mammals. Seeds eaten by birds. (USDA, Forest Service Fire Effects Information System).
Garden ground cover.
Blossoms, leaves and stems are edible greens in the spring. Source of Vitamin C (USDA, Forest Service Fire Effects Information System).
April to June
fruit ripening time
33 to 90 days
seed collection time
May to August
collection and abstraction
Collect seeds when mature fruits begin to split at maturity. Rub seed pods on screens to extract and to separate seeds from pods and chaff (Young, 2001).
Store seeds dry at room temperature (Young, 2001).
fruit seed dormancy treatment
No pre-planting treatments are required. Direct seed into containers 5-7.5 cm apart in fall or early spring (Young, 2001).