Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial plant is about 3-6" tall, consisting of a flowering stem with a pair of opposite cauline leaves and some basal leaves. The stem is light green or slightly reddish green, glabrous, and rather succulent. The basal leaves and the pair of cauline leaves are linear or linear-lanceolate, recurved, glabrous, smooth along the margins, and rather fleshy. There is a single central vein along the length of each leaf. The leaves are about 3-6" long; their width varies considerably depending on the local ecotype, but it is usually about ¼" across. The stem terminates in a floppy raceme of flowers. Each flower is up to ½" across when fully open, consisting of 5 petals, 2 green sepals, 5 stamens with pink anthers, and a pistil with a tripartite style. The petals are white with fine pink stripes; these stripes vary from pale pink to bright pink. The flowers open up on warm sunny days, and close during cloudy weather or at night. They are more or less erect while open, but nod downward while closed. The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about a month. There is a pleasant floral scent. Each fertilized flower produces an ovoid capsule containing several seeds; this capsule is enclosed by the 2 persistant sepals. The root system consists of a small round corm and secondary roots. This plant spreads by reseeding itself, and can become abundant in some areas.
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Comments

This attractive wildflower is a sure sign that spring has arrived and that the local woodlands are full of wildflowers. When Spring Beauty and these other wildflowers are conspicuously absent from a woodlands, this indicates that it has been subjected to severe degradation from plows or bulldozers at some point in the past. Spring Beauty is a unique member of the Purslane family that is easy to distinguish from other wildflowers. Look for pink-stripes, whether pale or bright, on the petals of the flowers, and only 2 sepals underneath. In southeastern United States, there is Claytonia carolina (Carolina Beauty), which has a similar appearance to Spring Beauty, but it doesn't occur in Illinois. The leaves of this species are usually broader than those of Spring Beauty.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Spring Beauty is a common plant that occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist to dry deciduous woodlands, savannas, thinly wooded bluffs, city parks, old cemeteries, and lawns (particularly near trees). Less often, this species is found in mesic prairies, but it is primarily a woodland plant. Spring Beauty can survive more environmental degradation than most spring-blooming woodland species, including occasional grazing by cattle and partial clearing of trees. This is one reason why it is still common.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Claytonia media (DC.) Small:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Claytonia virginica fo. virginica :
United States (North America)
Canada (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Claytonia virginica L.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Ont., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., W.Va., Wis.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Plants perennial, with globose tubers 10-200 mm diam.; periderm 0-0.5 mm. Stems 5-40 cm. Leaves: basal leaves petiolate 6-20 cm, blade linear, 3-14 × 0.5-1.3 cm; cauline leaves sessile, blade linear, 1-10 cm, tapered to slender base. Inflorescences 1-bracteate, rarely with 2 or more bracts; bracts reduced apically, scalelike. Flowers 5-12 mm diam.; sepals 5-7 mm; petals white to pinkish or rose (rarely yellow or orange) or white with pink-lavender candy-stripes, 7-14 mm; ovules 6. Seeds 2-3 mm diam., shiny and smooth; elaisome 1-2 mm. 2n = 12-190.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Claytonia virginica var. hammondiae (Kalmbacher) J. J. Doyle, W. H. Lewis & D. B. Snyder
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Spring Beauty is a common plant that occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include moist to dry deciduous woodlands, savannas, thinly wooded bluffs, city parks, old cemeteries, and lawns (particularly near trees). Less often, this species is found in mesic prairies, but it is primarily a woodland plant. Spring Beauty can survive more environmental degradation than most spring-blooming woodland species, including occasional grazing by cattle and partial clearing of trees. This is one reason why it is still common.
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Wetlands, seeps, moist woods, riparian hardwood forests, copses, bluffs, ravines, prairies; 0-1000m.
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Spring Beauty in Illinois

Claytonia virginica (Spring Beauty)
(Bees suck nectar; honeybees and some short-tongued bees also collect pollen; Ladybird beetles feed on pollen & are non-pollinating; other insects suck nectar; observations are from Robertson, Graenicher, Krombein et al., Schemske et al., Campbell, and Motten as indicated below)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq (Rb, Shm, Mtt); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn (Rb), Bombus griseocollis (Shm), Bombus impatiens sn (Rb), Bombus pensylvanica sn (Rb), Bombus vagans sn (Rb); Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata sn (Rb, Mtt), Ceratina dupla dupla sn (Rb), Ceratina strenua (Shm); Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Synhalonia belfragii sn (Rb), Synhalonia speciosa sn (Rb); Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada spp. fq (Cmp, Mtt), Nomada affabilis sn (Rb), Nomada cressonii sn (Rb), Nomada cuneatus sn (Rb), Nomada illinoiensis sn (Rb), Nomada integerrima sn (Rb), Nomada luteola sn (Shm), Nomada obliterata sn (Rb), Nomada ovatus fq sn (Rb), Nomada sayi sn (Rb), Nomada sulphurata sn (Rb); Anthophoridae (Xylocopini): Xylocopa virginica (Mtt); Megachilidae (Osmiini): Osmia spp. (Cmp, Mtt), Osmia atriventris sn (Rb), Osmia conjuncta fq (Mtt), Osmia lignaria lignaria sn fq (Rb, Mtt), Osmia pumila sn (Rb)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn cp (Rb), Agapostemon splendens sn (Rb), Augochlorella spp. (Mtt), Augochlorella aurata sn (Rb), Augochlorella striata sn fq (Rb), Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn (Rb), Augochloropsis sumptuosa (Shm), Halictus confusus sn cp fq (Rb), Halictus ligatus sn (Rb), Halictus rubicunda sn cp fq (Rb), Lasioglossum spp. fq (Mtt), Lasioglossum abanci (Cmp), Lasioglossum cinctipes sn (Rb), Lasioglossum coriaceus sn cp (Rb), Lasioglossum cressonii sn (Rb), Lasioglossum forbesii (Shm), Lasioglossum foxii sn (Rb), Lasioglossum illinoensis sn (Rb), Lasioglossum imitatus sn (Rb), Lasioglossum macoupinensis (Mtt), Lasioglossum obscurus (Shm), Lasioglossum pectoralis sn (Rb), Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn (Rb), Lasioglossum truncatus sn (Rb), Lasioglossum versatus sn cp fq (Rb), Lasioglossum zephyrus sn (Rb); Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes dichroa sn (Rb); Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes inaequalis sn (Rb); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena spp. (Shm, Cmp, Mtt), Andrena arabis sn (Rb), Andrena carlini sn fq (Rb, Shm, Mtt), Andrena cressonii sn cp fq (Rb, Shm), Andrena dunningi sn (Rb), Andrena erigeniae sn cp fq olg (Rb, Shm, Cmp, Mtt), Andrena erythrogaster sn (Rb), Andrena erythronii sn (Rb), Andrena forbesii sn cp fq (Rb, Shm), Andrena imitatrix imitatrix sn cp fq (Rb), Andrena mandibularis sn (Rb), Andrena miserabilis bipunctata sn cp fq (Rb, Shm), Andrena nasonii sn fq (Rb, Shm, Mtt), Andrena nigrihirta fq (Cmp, Mtt), Andrena nuda (Kr), Andrena personata sn fq (Rb), Andrena pruni sn (Rb), Andrena rugosa sn (Rb, Shm), Andrena sayi sn (Rb), Andrena tridens (Mtt)

Flies
Syrphidae: Unidentified spp. fq (Mtt), Allograpta obliqua (Rb), Dasysyrphus venustus (Rb), Eristalis arbustorum (Rb), Eristalis dimidiatus (Rb, Shm), Eristalis stipator (Rb), Eupeodes americanus fq (Rb, Shm), Helophilus fasciatus fq (Rb, Shm), Melanostoma sp. (Shm), Paragus bicolor fq (Rb), Platycheirus obscurus (Rb, Shm), Rhingia nasica (Rb), Sphaerophoria contiqua (Rb), Syritta pipiens (Rb), Syrphus sp. (Shm), Syrphus ribesii (Rb), Syrphus torvus (Rb, Shm), Toxomerus geminatus (Rb), Toxomerus marginatus (Rb, Shm); Empididae: Empis nuda (Rb), Empis otiosa (Rb); Bombyliidae: Bombylius major fq (Rb, Gr, Cmp, Mtt); Conopidae: Myopa vesiculosa (Rb); Tachinidae: Gonia sp. fq (Cmp, Mtt); Sarcophagidae: Helicobia rapax (Rb), Ravinia derelicta (Rb), Sarcophaga sinuata (Rb); Calliphoridae: Calliphora vicina (Rb), Cynomya cadaverina (Rb), Phormia regina (Rb); Muscidae: Bithoracochaeta leucoprocta (Rb), Limnophora narona (Rb), Neomyia cornicina (Rb); Anthomyiidae: Delia platura fq (Rb, Cmp, Mtt); Fanniidae: Fannia manicata (Rb); Scathophagidae: Scathophaga furcata (Rb); Sepsidae: Sepsis violacea (Rb); Piophilidae: Prochyliza xanthostoma (Rb)

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Phyciodes tharos (Rb), Vanessa atalanta (Rb); Lycaenidae: Celastrina argiolus (Cmp), Everes comyntas (Rb); Papilionidae: Papilio marcellus (Rb); Pieridae: Colias philodice (Rb), Euchloe olympia (Cmp, Mtt), Pieris rapae (Rb), Pontia protodice (Rb)

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Unidentified sp. (Cmp), Erynnis icelus (Rb), Erynnis juvenalis (Rb)

Beetles
Coccinellidae: Coleomegilla maculata fp np (Rb)

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering Mar-Apr.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Claytonia virginica

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 virginica

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is dappled sunlight during the spring, moist to slightly dry conditions, and a rich loamy soil with abundant organic matter. This plant will adapt to semi-shaded areas of lawns if mowing is delayed during the spring. The easy way to start plants is by obtaining their corms, although these are difficult to find or expensive to buy from nurseries.
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Wikipedia

Claytonia virginica

Claytonia virginica (L.), the Eastern spring beauty, Virginia spring beauty, or fairy spud, is an herbaceous perennial in the family Portulacaceae. Its native range is Eastern North America.[1] Its scientific name honors Colonial Virginia botanist John Clayton (1694–1773).

Description[edit]

Spring beauty is a perennial plant, overwintering through a corm. It is a trailing plant growing to 5–40 cm long. The leaves are slender lanceolate, 3–14 cm long and 0.5–1.3 cm broad, with a 6–20 cm long petiole.

The flowers are 0.7–1.4 cm diameter with five pale pink or white (rarely yellow) petals,[2] and reflect UV light.[3] It has a raceme inflorescence, in which its flowers branch off of the shoot. The individual flowers bloom for three days, although the five stamens on each flower are only active for a single day.[4] Flowering occurs between March and May depending on part of its range and weather. The seeds are between 0.2-0.3 cm in diameter and a shiny black.[5] The seeds are released from the capsule fruit when it breaks open.[6] An elaiosome is present on the seeds and allow for ant dispersal.[7]

It is also a polyploid, having 2n between 12 and 191 chromosomes. The largest number of chromosomes was observed in New York City.[8]

Habitat and range[edit]

Spring beauty is found in the Eastern temperate deciduous forest of North America[9] It is noted for its abundance throughout many parts of its range, especially in forests. The plant can be found throughout many different habitat types including lawns, city parks, forests, roadsides, wetlands, bluffs, and ravines.[10]

Uses[edit]

This plant has been used medicinally by the Iroquois, who would give a cold infusion or decoction of the powdered roots to children suffering from convulsions.[11] They would also eat the raw roots, believing that they permanently prevented conception.[12] They would also eat the roots as food,[13] as would the Algonquin people, who cooked them like potatoes.[14] Spring beauty corms along with the entire above ground portion of the plant are safe for human consumption.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ USDA Plants, http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CLVI3
  2. ^ Claytonia virginica, Flora of North America, http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=220002996
  3. ^ Schemske, D., M. Willson, M. Melampy, L. Miller, L. Verner, K. Schemske, L. Best. 1978. Flowering ecology of some spring woodland herbs. Ecology. 59(2): 351-366
  4. ^ Schemske, D., M. Willson, M. Melampy, L. Miller, L. Verner, K. Schemske, L. Best. 1978. Flowering ecology of some spring woodland herbs. Ecology. 59(2): 351-366
  5. ^ Claytonia virginica, Flora of North America, http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=220002996
  6. ^ Schemske, D., M. Willson, M. Melampy, L. Miller, L. Verner, K. Schemske, L. Best. 1978. Flowering ecology of some spring woodland herbs. Ecology. 59(2): 351-366
  7. ^ Claytonia virginica, Flora of North America, http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=220002996
  8. ^ Cytogeography of Claytonia virginica and its allies, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2395001?seq=1
  9. ^ USDA Plants, http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CLVI3
  10. ^ Claytonia virginica, Flora of North America, http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=220002996
  11. ^ Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (p. 317)
  12. ^ Herrick, p.318
  13. ^ Waugh, F. W. 1916 Iroquis Foods and Food Preparation. Ottawa. Canada Department of Mines (p. 120)
  14. ^ Black, Meredith Jean 1980 Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in South Western Quebec. Ottawa. National Museums of Canada. Mercury Series Number 65 (p. 84)
  15. ^ Thayer, Samuel (2006). The Forager's Harvest. w5066 State Hwy 86 Ogema, WI 54459: Forager's Harvest. pp. 193–199. ISBN 0976626608. 
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