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Claytonia perfoliata - Donn. ex Willd.

Common Name Miner's Lettuce
Family Portulacaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Disturbed and waste ground, moist banks and slopes, often in partial shade, especially on light soils[17, 85]. Also found on rather dry sandy soils[50].
Range Western N. America - British Columbia to California and Mexico. Naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Well drained soil Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Claytonia perfoliata Miner

Claytonia perfoliata Miner


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Claytonia perfoliata is a ANNUAL growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Flies. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.


Claytonia perfoliata.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Ground Cover;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[2, 5, 12, 27, 52, 62]. A fairly bland flavour with a mucilaginous texture, it is quite nice in a salad[183, K]. The young leaves are best[85], older leaves can turn bitter especially in the summer and if the plant is growing in a hot dry position[K]. Although individual leaves are fairly small, they are produced in abundance and are easily picked[K]. Stalks and flowers - raw[52]. A nice addition to the salad bowl[K]. Bulb - raw[5, 53, 62]. Although very small and labour-intensive to harvest, the boiled and peeled root has the flavour of chestnuts[244]. Another report says that the plant has a fibrous root system[62] so this report seems to be erroneous[K].

Medicinal Uses

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Antirheumatic;  Laxative.

The leaves are gently laxative[94]. Apart from its value as a nourishing vegetable that is rich in vitamin C, it can also be taken as an invigorating spring tonic and an effective diuretic[254]. A poultice of the mashed plants has been applied to rheumatic joints[257].

Other Uses

Although only an annual, this species makes an excellent ground cover in a cool acid soil under trees. In such a position it usually self-sows freely[208] and grows all year round[K].

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist peaty soil[1, 60]. It is often found growing wild on sandy soils[264]. An easily grown plant, it can succeed on very poor and dry soils[52, 60]. Plants grow well the dappled shade of trees, producing a better quality crop in such a situation[52, 60, 264]. Although only an annual[208], it usually self-sows when well sited. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -15°c. Miner's lettuce is occasionally cultivated as a salad plant[1, 46]. It's main value is as a reliable producer of leaves in the winter, though it can provide leaves all year round[141, 200, 264]. It can be grown as a cut and come again crop[183].


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Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ. The seed usually germinates rapidly.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

May be weedy or invasive.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Claytonia acutifoliaBering Sea Spring Beauty30
Claytonia carolinianaBroad-Leaved Spring Beauty, Carolina springbeauty30
Claytonia exiguaPale Spring Beauty, Serpentine springbeauty20
Claytonia lanceolataLanceleaf Spring Beauty, Idaho springbeauty, Pacific springbeauty, Peirson's springbeauty30
Claytonia megarhizaAlpine Spring Beauty30
Claytonia scammanianaScamman's Claytonia, Scamman's springbeauty20
Claytonia sibiricaPink Purslane, Siberian springbeauty41
Claytonia tuberosaTuberous Spring Beauty30
Claytonia umbellataGreat Basin Spring Beauty20
Claytonia virginicaSpring Beauty, Virginia springbeauty, Hammond's claytonia, Yellow Virginia springbeauty31
Osmunda claytonianaInterrupted Fern21


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Expert comment


Donn. ex Willd.

Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Klaus   Thu Aug 16 16:17:51 2001

In fact, the seed of a common german variety ("Winterportulak")just germinates rapidly when it had a cold period. Freshly ripe seed sown in the same summer needs up to 4-6 weeks to germinate. (This was told to me by Reinhard Ehrentraut, an organic farmer who produces the seed)

Wendy Hocking - Australia   Tue Sep 12 2006

Miner's lettuce - Montia perfoliata, was brought to Australia during the goldrush days in New South Wales and Victoria by miners from the American goldfields. It now grows wild along creeks and waterways in a number of old worked-out fields.

david n   Fri Oct 24 2008

It's possible this plant is more tolerant of growing under conifers than most. I just found a colony of it growing wild under the shade of a conifer, never seen it around here before(wellington, New Zealand) that may have given it the edge over weeds around here that would otherwise smother it, it was in a spot the council probably mow a bit, that may also explain it.

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