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Plant Description


Claytonia caroliniana Michx.

En: Carolina springbeauty, wideleaf springbeauty
Fr: claytonie de Caroline, claytonie feuille-large
Oj: meeautikwaeaugpineeg

Montiaeae (Water Chickweed Family Family)

Click on thumbnail to see larger image.
Claytonia carolinianahab Claytonia carolinianaflpl Claytonia carolinianaflw


General: A perennial forb, to 30 cm tall, arising from a corm to 2.7 cm thick, bearing several flowering stems, each with a pair of opposite leaves. Spring beauty, one of our earliest spring flowers to bloom, often forms thick carpets in the understory of deciduous forests. It is often found growing with nodding and white trilliums and dutchman's breeches.

Leaves: 2, basal and opposite, petiolate; leaf blade lanceolate to narrowly elliptic, to 10 cm long and 3 cm wide, tapering abruptly to the petiole, apex acute to obtuse, margins entire.

Flowers: Bisexual; flowers 2-11 in a loose raceme; sepals 2, green, ovate, to 9 mm long; petals 5, white to pinkish with darker pink veins, obovate to oval or oblong, to 15 mm long; stamens 5, with pink anthers; style 3-cleft. Flowering April to May.

Fruit: Capsule 3–6 seeded; seeds smooth and shiny, to 4 mm long.

Habitat and Range: Open woods and rich deciduous forests. Native to north-temperate eastern North America. The Carolina spring beauty extends north to the Thunder Bay area in northwestern Ontario and the Algoma District in northeastern Ontario.

Similar Species: The only plant similar to Carolina spring beauty is the eastern spring beauty, Claytonia virginiana, which can be distinghished easily by its narrower, linear leaves. However, the range of the eastern spring beauty extends only as far north as the eastern Huron shore and the Ottawa region. Compare the Claytonia virginiana to the images above.

Internet Images: The Claytonia caroliniana page from Connecticut Botanical Society.

– written by Derek Goertz

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