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Claytonia virginica (L.), the Eastern spring beauty, Virginia spring beauty, or fairy spud, is an herbaceous perennial in the family Portulacaceae. Its native range is Eastern North America.
Its scientific name honors Colonial Virginia botanist John Clayton (1694–1773).
Spring beauty is a perennial plant, overwintering through a corm. It is a trailing plant growing to 5–40 cm long. The leaves are slender lanceolate, 3–14 cm long and 0.5–1.3 cm broad, with a 6–20 cm long petiole.
The flowers are 0.7–1.4 cm diameter with five pale pink or white (rarely yellow) petals, and reflect UV light. It has a raceme inflorescence, in which its flowers branch off of the shoot. The individual flowers bloom for three days, although the five stamens on each flower are only active for a single day. Flowering occurs between March and May depending on part of its range and weather. The seeds are between 0.2-0.3 cm in diameter and a shiny black. The seeds are released from the capsule fruit when it breaks open. An elaiosome is present on the seeds and allow for ant dispersal.
It is also a polyploid, having 2n between 12 and 191 chromosomes. The largest number of chromosomes was observed in New York City. Spring beauty is found in the Eastern temperate deciduous forest of North America It is noted for its abundance throughout many parts of its range, especially in forests. The plant can be found throughout many different habitat types including lawns, city parks, forests, roadsides, wetlands, bluffs, and ravines.
April 23rd, 2013
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