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Overview

Brief Summary

What's unusual about winter purslane is that it has no problem surviving severe winters. It is a fleshy edible plant, containing lots of vitamin C and minerals. No wonder its nicknames are lettuce or spinach. Winter purslane is easy to recognize. Besides being one of the few herbal plants that is a bright healthy green in the winter, the rosettes of long stems end in a dish-like leaf. Actually, it is a pair of leaves which have united into one. The tiny flowers emerge from the middle of the dish.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Occurrence in North America

     AZ  CA  CO  ID  MT  NV  ND  OR  SD  UT
     WA  WY  BC  MEXICO

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Miner's-lettuce is distributed from British Columbia south to Guatemala
and east to North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, and Arizona
[17,18,19,22,36,38].

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

    1  Northern Pacific Border
    2  Cascade Mountains
    3  Southern Pacific Border
    4  Sierra Mountains
    5  Columbia Plateau
    6  Upper Basin and Range
    7  Lower Basin and Range
    8  Northern Rocky Mountains
    9  Middle Rocky Mountains
   10  Wyoming Basin
   11  Southern Rocky Mountains
   12  Colorado Plateau
   15  Black Hills Uplift
   16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Miner's-lettuce is a native winter or spring annual.  It is branched
from the base with stems growing up to 14 inches (35 cm) tall.  Leaves
are mostly basal, simple, and 2.4 to 8.0 inches (6-20 cm) long,
including the stalk.  Miner's-lettuce has two stem leaves that fuse to
form a disc just below the flower stalk.  The elongate stalk bears
numerous small flowers.  Fruits are tiny, three-valved capsules
containing one to three seeds.  Roots are fibrous [11,22,27,36].

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Description

Plants annual, with minute, tuberous bodies; periderm absent. Stems 5-50 cm. Leaves: basal leaves in suberect to erect, seldom flattened rosettes, petiolate, 1-30 cm, blade often with weak red pigmentation, broadly rhombic to deltate or reniform, 1-7 × 0.5-5(-6) cm, apex obtuse to apiculate, mucro 1-3 mm; cauline leaves sessile, blade perfoliate or cleft or notched, 10 cm diam. or less. Inflorescences 1-bracteate; bract leaflike, 0.5-15 mm. Flowers 3-10 mm; sepals 1.5-4 mm; petals pink or white, 2-5 mm; ovules 3. Seeds 2-5 mm, shiny and smooth; elaiosome 1-3 mm. 2n = 12, 24, 36, 48, 60.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Montia perfoliata (Donn ex Willdenow) Howell
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Type Information

Holotype for Limnia mexicana Rydb.
Catalog Number: US 451542
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): J. N. Rose & J. H. Painter
Year Collected: 1903
Locality: Nevada de Toluca., Mexico, North America
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

Miner's-lettuce usually occurs on moist or vernally moist sites
[10,14,18,19,22].  Miller [39] reported it from a variety of substrates
including river silt, sand, gravel, road tar, loam, rock crevices,
talus, and scree.  He also found it on burned sites.  Some polyploids
occur on specialized, distinctive sites.  The Columbia River Gorge
octoploid, for example, occurs only on north-facing basalt talus slopes
or cliff faces.  Other polyploids are more plastic in site requirements
[40].

In California, miner's-lettuce is most common below 6,500 feet (2,000 m)
[38]; in Arizona it grows at elevations of 2,500 to 7,500 feet
(750-2,270 m) [19]; in Utah it grows at elevations of 2,600 to 10,890
feet (800-3,300 m) [36].

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: shrub

   K001  Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest
   K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest
   K005  Mixed conifer forest
   K006  Redwood forest
   K007  Red fir forest
   K009  Pine - cypress forest
   K010  Ponderosa shrub forest
   K011  Western ponderosa forest
   K012  Douglas-fir forest
   K013  Cedar - hemlock - pine forest
   K015  Western spruce - fir forest
   K016  Eastern ponderosa forest
   K017  Black Hills pine forest
   K018  Pine - Douglas-fir forest
   K019  Arizona pine forest
   K020  Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest
   K023  Juniper - pinyon woodland
   K024  Juniper steppe woodland
   K025  Alder - ash forest
   K026  Oregon oakwoods
   K028  Mosaic of K002 and K026
   K029  California mixed evergreen forest
   K030  California oakwoods
   K033  Chaparral
   K034  Montane chaparral
   K035  Coastal sagebrush
   K037  Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub
   K038  Great Basin sagebrush
   K039  Blackbrush
   K041  Creosotebush
   K048  California steppe
   K051  Wheatgrass - bluegrass
   K055  Sagebrush steppe

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES22  Western white pine
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES27  Redwood
   FRES28  Western hardwoods
   FRES29  Sagebrush
   FRES30  Desert shrub
   FRES34  Chaparral - mountain shrub
   FRES35  Pinyon - juniper
   FRES36  Mountain grasslands
   FRES37  Mountain meadows
   FRES42  Annual grasslands

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Key Plant Community Associations

In addition to the species previously listed under DISTRIBUTION AND
OCCURRENCE information, miner's-lettuce is associated with bigcone
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga macrocarpa), interior live oak (Quercus
wislizenii), and Coulter pine (Pinus coulteri) [40].

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

   206  Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir
   207  Red fir
   210  Interior Douglas-fir
   211  White fir
   213  Grand fir
   215  Western white pine
   217  Aspen
   221  Red alder
   222  Black cottonwood - willow
   224  Western hemlock
   229  Pacific Douglas-fir
   230  Douglas-fir - western hemlock
   232  Redwood
   233  Oregon white oak
   234  Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone
   235  Cottonwood - willow
   237  Interior ponderosa pine
   238  Western juniper
   239  Pinyon - juniper
   243  Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
   244  Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir
   245  Pacific ponderosa pine
   246  California black oak
   247  Jeffrey pine
   248  Knobcone pine
   249  Canyon live oak
   250  Blue oak - Digger pine
   255  California coast live oak

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General Ecology

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: prescribed fire, restoration

The Research Project Summary Vegetation response to restoration treatments
in ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forests of western Montana
provides
information on prescribed fire and postfire response of plant community
species including miner's-lettuce.

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, frequency, prescribed fire, wildfire

Miner's-lettuce was present in the first growing season after the
stand-destroying Marble-Cone wildfire in the Santa Lucia Range of
California in August 1977.  Peak cover was reached in postfire year 2
and declined by postfire year 3.  Percent frequency of miner's-lettuce
on two study sites that had been dominated by Coulter pine follows [16]:
 
                   Site                  1978      1979      1980
                   ______________________________________________
                   Chews Ridge site 1       9        36         8
                   Chews Ridge site 2       7        48         2

Miner's-lettuce is common in recently burned chaparral [20].  A year
after a fire in chaparral in the Sierra Nevada foothills,
miner's-lettuce had high seed production on moist north-east slopes.
Postfire cover quickly exceeded prefire levels [24].  Miner's-lettuce
was also present the year following a severe fire in a chaparral
riparian zone in the Los Padres National Forest, California, but its
frequency was reduced by postfire year 2 [9].

Miner's-lettuce is also common after fire in more northern portions of
its range.  It was present in the first growing season after a fall
wildfire in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) stands in the
Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Idaho, and had increased in frequency by
postfire year 3 [25].  In burned ponderosa pine shelterwood cut units in Idaho,
miner's-lettuce was present in postfire year 1 on sites burned with dry fuels,
but was not present on sites burned with moist fuels.  It also was
not present in the prefire vegetation or in unburned control plots [30].
Miner's-lettuce was present in the first growing season following the
stand-destroying Pattee Canyon wildfire in a Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga
menziesii)/ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus) habitat type in west-central
Montana [7].  It was still present in the herbaceous layer 10 years
later [34].

On ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir communities in the Blue Mountains
of northeastern Oregon, miner's-lettuce cover and frequency were higher
on sites that had been burned 4 years previously than on thinned,
thinned and burned, or unburned control sites.  Miner's-lettuce was
determined to be an indicator species for thinned sites (P≤0.05).
For further information on the effects of thinning and burning treatments
on miner's-lettuce and 48 other species, see the Research Project Summary
of Youngblood and others' [45] study.

A basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp. tridentata)-Idaho fescue
(Festuca idahoensis)-bluebunch wheatgrass community at the John Day
Fossil Beds National Monument in east-central Oregon was burned in the
spring and fall.  Although not in the prefire vegetation, miner's-lettuce
was present in trace amounts (less than 2% frequency) the summer after
the fall prescribed fire.  It was not present after the spring fire or
in control plots [29].  See the Research Project Summary of this work
for more information on fire effects on miner's-lettuce and 60 additional
forbs, grasses, and woody plant species.

Miner's-lettuce establishes after fire in disturbed and climax
grasslands in southeastern Washington [8].

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: ground residual colonizer, secondary colonizer

   Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)
   Secondary colonizer - on-site seed

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Fire Ecology

More info for the term: cover

Miner's-lettuce has long-lived seeds that are stored in the soil [33]
and germinate following fire [34].  It is a prolific seeder [24]; mass
flowering in the years immediately following a fire recharges the
seed bank [33].  Miner's-lettuce can develop high cover on exposed soil
in full sun [31].

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: therophyte

  
   Therophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: forb

Forb

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Fire Management Considerations

Rapid growth of miner's-lettuce after fire in chaparral in the Sierra
Nevada foothills contributes to an increased food supply for flocking
bird species such as mourning dove and western meadowlark [24].

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Successional Status

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Facultative Seral Species

Miner's-lettuce occurs in all seral stages.  It often colonizes
disturbed sites, particularly following fire [22,24].  Miner's lettuce
is also found on virgin fields dominated by bluebunch wheatgrass
(Pseudoroegneria spicata) and Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda) in
southeastern Washington [8].  However, miner's-lettuce is shade tolerant
[22,26,27] and is more prominent under a canopy than in openings in oak
savanna, western white pine (Pinus monticola), and antelope bitterbrush
(Purshia tridentata) communities [3,23,26].

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Regeneration Processes

Miner's-lettuce reproduces by seed [24,33,34].  Selfing is the most
common method of pollination, but insect pollination also occurs.  Seeds
are dispersed by explosive dehiscence.  They are capable of immediate
germination [39].

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Miner's-lettuce is probably killed by fire.

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Time from germination to flowering varied from 33 to 90 days in a
Columbia River Gorge population [39].  Miner's-lettuce flowers from
February to May in Arizona and California [19,27].  In Utah, it flowers
from June to July [1].

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Claytonia perfoliata

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Claytonia perfoliata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: density, fern

In California, density and overall yield of miner's-lettuce is greater
in bracken fern communities than in surrounding grasslands [14,15].
This may be due to increased moisture availability in winter and early
spring, when bracken fern is dormant [14].

Miner's-lettuce is a host to the beet western yellows virus, which is
spread by aphids [43]. 

Purslane sawfly larvae, which consume the seeds, afford some biological
control over miner's lettuce [42,43].

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These species are introduced in Switzerland.
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© Info Flora (CRSF/ZDSF) & Autoren 2005

Supplier: Name It's Source (profile not public)

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Other uses and values

The blossoms, leaves, and stems of miner's-lettuce may be eaten by
humans at any time during the growing season.  They are eaten raw or
cooked, and are a good source of vitamin C [11,37].  Historically,
miner's-lettuce was used as a salad plant and potherb by white settlers
and Native Americans [19].  It was also used to avert or cure scurvy
[37].

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Miner's-lettuce is preferred by cattle in blue oak (Quercus douglasii)
savannas in California [5].  It is also grazed by pocket gophers [6].
Mourning doves, California quail, and other seed-eating birds consume
the fruits [24,41].

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Nutritional Value

The nutritional composition of miner's-lettuce has been determined to be
37.1 percent protein, 42.5 percent total carbohydrate, and 12.4 percent
crude fiber.  The calcium:phosphorus ratio is 0.66:1.0 [37].

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Wikipedia

Claytonia perfoliata

Claytonia perfoliata (Indian lettuce, spring beauty, winter purslane, or miner's lettuce ; syn. Montia perfoliata) is a fleshy annual plant native to the western mountain and coastal regions of North America from southernmost Alaska and central British Columbia south to Central America, but most common in California in the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin valleys.

Description[edit]

Claytonia perfoliata is a rosette-forming plant, growing to a maximum of 40 cm in height, but mature plants can be as small as 1 cm. The cotyledons are usually bright green (rarely purplish or brownish-green), succulent, long and narrow. The first true leaves form a rosette at the base of the plant, and are 0.5–4 cm long, with an often long petiole (exceptionally up to 20 cm long).

The small pink or white flowers have five petals 2–6 mm long; they appear from February to May or June, and are grouped 5–40 together above a pair of leaves that are united together around the stem to appear as one circular leaf. Mature plants have numerous erect to spreading stems that branch from the base.

It is common in the spring, and it prefers cool, damp conditions. It first appears in sunlit areas after the first heavy rains. Though, the best stands are found in shaded areas, especially in the uplands, into the early summer. As the days get hotter, the leaves turn a deep red color as they dry out.

There are four ill-defined geographical subspecies:

  • Claytonia perfoliata subsp. perfoliata: Pacific coastal United States and southwest Canada
  • Claytonia perfoliata subsp. intermontana: interior western United States
  • Claytonia perfoliata subsp. mexicana: coastal southern California and Arizona south through Mexico to Guatemala
  • Claytonia perfoliata subsp. utahensis: recognised as local subspecies in Utah.

Uses[edit]

Salade de pourpier.JPG

The common name miner's lettuce refers to its use by California Gold Rush miners who ate it to get their vitamin C to prevent scurvy. It can be eaten as a leaf vegetable. Most commonly it is eaten raw in salads, but it is not quite as delicate as other lettuce. Sometimes it is boiled like spinach, which it resembles in taste. Miner's lettuce can sometimes accumulate toxic amounts of soluble oxalates.[1]

It is widely naturalized in western Europe. It was introduced there in the eighteenth century, possibly by the naturalist Archibald Menzies, who brought it to Kew Gardens in 1794.[2] [3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Miner's Lettuce". UC IPM Online. UC Davis. 
  2. ^ Hank Shaw (March 7, 2011). "Foraging for Miner's Lettuce, America's Gift to Salad". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  3. ^ Archibald Menzies (1923). Menzies' Journal of Vancouver's Voyage, April to October, 1792 [extract]. W. H. Cullin Printers. Retrieved 2013-04-07. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Kartesz (1999) moves 'utahensis' and 'viridis' material, both formerly (1994) placed in Claytonia perfoliata (C. perfoliata ssp. perfoliata var. utahensis and C. perfoliata ssp. viridis), into Claytonia parviflora. Claytonia perfoliata ssp. intermontana and C. perfoliata ssp. mexicana, both newly described in 1993 and not addressed in Kartesz (1994), are also recognized as subspecies within C. perfoliata by Kartesz (1999).

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More info for the term: polyploid

The currently accepted scientific name of miner's-lettuce is Claytonia
perfoliata Donn. (Portulacaceae) [38,44]. The Claytonia perfoliata
complex is a polyploid group of considerable complexity, with several
subspecies and many ecotypes [39,40]. The following subspecies are
recognized:

C. perfoliata spp. perfoliata [39]
C. perfoliata ssp. mexicana (Rydb.) John M. Miller & Chambers [38]
C. perfoliata ssp. viridis (A. Davidson) Fellows [39].

Varieties under the synonym Montia perfoliata are listed in several
floras [19,27,35,36,38].

Miner's-lettuce hybridizes with C. parviflora, C. sibirica, and C. rubra
[38,40].

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Common Names

miner's-lettuce
claspleaf miner's-lettuce
Indian-lettuce

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Synonyms

Montia perfoliata (Donn.) Howell [18,22,27,36]

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