Survival Tip

Miners Lettuce

Claytonia perfoliata
Former name: Montia perfoliata
C. parviflora
C. exigua
C. rubra

Is an annual herb with slender stems And bracts that usually completely surround the stem forming a disk it is in the same family as purslane (see a later plant of the month) and in the same genus as the many springbeauties. Not all miners lettuce is green. I have seen it in a purplish or brownish green. It ranges from Alaska to Mexico, California to South Dakota, and is also found in New Hampshire .

Miners lettuce is named after the California gold rush miners who ate it to get their vitamin C to fight scurvy. Imagine how thankful the miners were when this plant came up in the spring. The winter has just past and they all have red bleeding gums and loose teeth. Many of them have sores that will not heal. Rejoicing that spring has come, feasting on a salad of miners lettuce that cures them of those miseries brought on by scurvy. If they had only known about pine needles and straw berry leaves they would have had plenty of vitamin C.

Miner's lettuce at its best

Miners lettuce in bloom

later in bloom and going to seed

Miner's lettuce flower

Enlarged flower

Tiny miners lettuce seed

seeds are about
2mm across.

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