Height: 7.5-15 cm (3-6 in)
Claytonia virginica L.
Flowers: its 5 petals are white or to pinkish rose with candy striped veins complimenting the color. Sometimes the petals appear pinkish lavender and rarely one can find an orange colored flower. They are 5-12 mm (0.2-0.5 in) across. One plant can produce 5-20 flowers.
Leaves: are narrow up to 8 times as long as wide tapering to the base of the plant. They usually don't grow beyond 7 cm (2.75 in) in length and are oppositely arranged.
Sun: Part shade to shade.
SOURCES & FURTHER RESOURCES:
Jackson, Halliday. 1888. "Claytonia virginica". Poems. Friends' Book Association; Philadelphia, PA.
Comments: To prevent self-fertilization, spring beauty male and female flowers mature and bloom separately. The petite flowers close at night. Their bloom time only lasts about 3 days.
The small corms produced are edible and can be boiled like tiny potatoes. For more information on its edibility and to read a wonderful little story about Spring Beauty, visit INPAWS article, Spring Beauty: The Fairy Spud
The poet, Halliday Jackson, wrote
'Spring Beauty' we call thee -'t is well,
For we look to the bright floral train,
By wayside, in woodland and dell,
For thy rival, but seek we in vain
They petals the soft touch of light
Hath streaked with the sun's roseate ray,
And thy bloom in profusion, how bright
In the smiles of the sunshine of May!
Etymology: The genus is named after the botanist, John Clayton.