Montia perfoliata Montia perfoliata

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Siberian Spring Beauty

Claytonia sibirica

  • Name also: Siberian Spring-beauty, Western Springbeauty, Siberian Miner’s-lettuce, Candy Flower, Pink Purslane
  • Latin synonym: Montia sibirica
  • Family: Montia Family – Montiaceae
    (formerly Purslane Family – Portulacaceae)
  • Growing form: Annual (sometimes perennial) herb. Rhizomatous.
  • Height: 15–30 cm (6–12 in.). Usually many-stemmed, stems 1–6, ascending–erect.
  • Flower: Corolla regular (actinomorphic), 5–15 mm (0.2–0.6 in.) wide, 5. Tepals petaloid, with deeply notched tips, pink–white, red-veined. Stamens 5, stigmas pink. Inflorescence a long-stalked, 5–15-flowered cyme.
  • Leaves: Lower leaves as a rosette, long-stalked, blade widely ovate–elliptic, 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in.) long, with tapering base, 3–5-veined. Stem with one opposite, stalkless leaf pair, leaves widely lanceolate. All leaves with entire margins, somewhat fleshy.
  • Fruit: Widely egg-shaped capsule, length 2.5–3.5 mm (0.1–0.15 in.). Sepals same length as capsule. Seeds 1–3, with elaiosome (a nutritious appendage that attracts e.g. ants).
  • Habitat: Shady yards, leafy parks.
  • Flowering time: June–September.

Siberian spring beauty grows in Finland in gardens and as an escape which can thrive in its new growing place for a long time. The genus takes its scientific name from John Clayton (1693–1773), who was one of America’s first botanists. Siberian spring beauty is native to Siberia, of course, from where it spread to Alaska and south as far as Northern California. The species was introduced to Europe (Britain) in the 18th century.

Siberian spring beauty is protandrous or early-stamened, meaning that the stamens release their pollen before the pistil’s stigma is mature, decreasing the chances of self-pollenisation. (The opposite way is protogynous or early-pistilled).

Spring Beauty (Miner’s Lettuce)

Claytonia perfoliata (Montia perfoliata)

Genus Claytonia is comprised of approx. 25 species, most of which are native to North America. Another member of the genus which can be at least found in and around greenhouses is spring beauty (also called miner’s lettuce, which as the name suggests is suitable for use in salads).

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