22nd March 2021 – the original spring beauty

Edging the pavement in front of the care home, I find eye-catching green sprigs of Springbeauty (Claytonia perfoliata). The fused and slightly fleshy leaves beneath clusters of delicate five-petalled flowers are unmistakable. This plant, native to western North America, is edible and has a mild fresh taste. Also known as Miner’s Lettuce, research suggests that it was eaten by Gold Rush miners to prevent scurvy. A US botanist kindly confirmed that this is generally accepted in California as being the origin of the name.

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