SPRING BEAUTY

Claytonia perfoliata

Blinks Family [Montiaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZneophyte
flower
flower8white
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
stem
stem8round

13th May 2016, path near a pond, Formby, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
They would look eye-catching as part of a border in a garden.


13th May 2016, path near a pond, Formby, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A mass of flowers; the spoon-shaped leaves must be hidden beneath them.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Somewhat stressed by lack of water, it has turned pinkish.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A very low sprawling plant, barely gets 6 inches high. The leaves here, shaped a bit like paddles or flat spoons, have turned a sickly pink. Flowers small.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Leaves Ace of Spades shaped, only half an inch across, on the end of long flattish stalks.


19th April 2016, dunes, Hall Road, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Birds-eye view of a cluster.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Flowering stems are un-mistakably Spring Beauty, consisting of small white flowers cupped by a small chalice of two fused leaves, from which an upper tier of flowers may ascend on another telescopically-extending stalk.


13th May 2016, path near a pond, Formby, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
There are two tiers of flowers per plant; those cupped within the perfoliate leaf and those held aloft on a long branching stem


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The flowering stalks continue to grow longer whilst the two fused leaves flatten out. Petals sometimes slightly notched, as here.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Older plants have several pairs of flowers branching off the main flowering stalk at short intervals within the fused cup. Note the telescopically extending stalks.


13th May 2016, path near a pond, Formby, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Un-opened flowers loiter beneath opened ones.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The two fused-at-the-base Ace-of-Spades shaped leaves cupping the small white flowers, which are up to 6mm across. The flowers are themselves cupped by two (separate) sepals.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are white, with five white petals and five white stamens bearing off-white pollen.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The two fused leaves as seen from below, exponentially flared at first although it may flatten-out later. Leaves like these which totally encircle the stem are called either 'peltate' or 'perfoliate'.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Before the flower opens fully, the five stamens are clustered together in the centre. Here the hydathodes at the tips of the two fused leaves are white, possibly the expelled excess salt solution has dried to form crystalline salt.


19th April 2016, dunes, Hall Road, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A single style with a three-pronged stigma in the centre.


13th May 2016, path near a pond, Formby, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The flower sepal is a shallow cup without teeth in two halves.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A twisted writhing mass of leaves and flowering stems.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
An Ace-of-Spades leaf, the tip of which looks like it has a hydathode to expel excess salt.


23rd April 2011, Birkdale Slacks, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
All stems emerge and taper from a pink bulbous mass which bears the roots. Leaves about 4 inches long including the stalk. Flowering stems just a little longer.


Not to be confused with : Spring Sowbread, Spring Quillwort, Spring Gentian, Spring Sandwort, Spring Snowflake, Spring Starflower, Spring Crocus, Spring Speedwell, Spring Cinquefoil, Spring Squill, Spring Sedge or Spring Onions [plants with similar names]. Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : The small white flowers cupped in a fused leaf surrounding the flowering stem.

Not to be mistaken for: Pink Purslane. The basal leaves emanate from a pinkish bulbous base, like those of Pink Purslane with which it shares the same Genus name, and which are terminated by an Ace-of-Spades shaped leaf almost identical to that of Pink Purslane. The flowers are up to three times smaller than those of Pink Purslane. Whereas Pink Purslane has a couple of un-fused Ace-of-Spades shaped leaves opposite each other from which flowering stalks bifurcate, Spring Beauty has a fused leaf forming a cup around the stem from which flower stalks emerge telescopically.

In America it is called Miner's Lettuce and is said to be edible.

Grows on disturbed ground on sandy soils such as old dune slacks.


  Claytonia perfoliata  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Montiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Blinks family8Montiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Claytonia
Claytonia
(Purslanes)

SPRING BEAUTY

Claytonia perfoliata

Blinks Family [Montiaceae]

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