T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Claytonia perfoliata (Miner's lettuce)

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Montiaceae
Genus: Claytonia
Species: C. perfoliata
Binomial name: Claytonia perfoliata
Synonyms: Montia perfoliata, Claytonia cubensis, Claytonia spathulata, Limnia angustifolia,
Common names: Miner's lettuce, Indian lettuce, Spring beauty, Winter purslane,

Claytonia perfoliata is a rosette-forming, flowering plant in the Montiaceae family. It is a fleshy, herbaceous, tap-rooted, annual plant that is native to western North America, British Columbia to California and Mexico. This plant may be weedy or invasive.
Claytonia perfoliata grows to a maximum of 40 cm in height, but mature plants can be as short as 1 centimetre. Mature plants form a rosette; they have numerous erect to spreading stems that branch from the base.
A distinguishing feature of Claytonia perfoliata is a pair of leaves that are connected together around the stem so as to appear as a single circular leaf. These circular leaves can grow > 50 mm in diameter, forming a cuplike bract beneath the flowers.
The small pink or white flowers appear from February to May or June. They grow immediately above the centre of the circular leaf. The flowers have five petals that are 2 to 6 millimetres long and are typically around 3-10 mm across. They have two sepals ranging from 1.5-4 mm. Sometimes they grow as individual flowers or sometimes in small clusters. The flowers are hermaphroditic (having both male and female organs). They are largely self-pollinating but are also fertilised by flies.
Claytonia perfoliata a prefers a cool, damp, semi-shade environment. In hot dry conditions, the leaves turn a deep red colour when they dry out.

Claytonia perfoliata is widely eaten and it got its name ‘Miner's lettuce’ because of the U.S.A. Gold Rush miners who ate it to stave off scurvy, which is caused by a vitamin C deficiency. According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 100 grams of miner’s lettuce contains a third of one's daily requirement of Vitamin C, 22 percent of the Vitamin A, and 10 percent of the iron.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/