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Feb 2006 SPRING BEAUTY
N. Walker

NOTE: The photos are highly enlarged, the flowers are only about a half inch in diameter. Other common names for Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica, include Virginia Spring Beauty and Fairy Spuds. Spring Beauties grow from small tubers in very early spring. The leaf pairs are gras-like and blend in with other grasses (where they sometimes like to grow). Spring Beauties grow in open woods, meadows or even lawns. They grow from small underground corms.

The flowers are clustered at the end of slender stems, which sometimes grow in a slanted position. The flower, which is only about 3/4 inch in diameter, has five white petals with pink veins. The flowers close during nighttime hours. The plants go dormant after blooming. The corms were eaten by Indians and supposedly taste like radish raw and chestnuts cooked. . Most of the other members of the Purslane family have flowers that last for only one day. Spring Beauty is an exception in having longer flower life. Spring Beauty appears in many places that receive sunlight. It frequently grows in grassy areas.