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Miner's Lettuce
Claytonia perfoliata

About Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) Claytonia perfoliata (Miner's lettuce, Winter Purslane, Spring Beauty, or Indian lettuce; syn. Montia perfoliata) is an annual herb in the Montiaceae (Montia) family. It is native to a large portion of western North America, including almost every county in California. It is a trailing plant, growing to a maximum of 40 centimeter in length, but mature plants can be as small as 1 centimeter. The cotyledons are usually bright green (sometimes purplish or brownish-green), succulent, long and narrow. The first true leaves form a rosette at the base of the plant, and are 0.5-4 centimeter long, with an often long petiole (exceptionally up to 20 centimeter long). Mature leaves are round, succulent and edible, leading to the common name. The small white flowers have five petals 2-6 millimeter long; they appear from February to May or June, and are grouped 5-40 together above a pair of leaves that are united together around the stem to appear as one circular leaf. Mature plants have numerous erect to spreading stems that branch from the base. The presence of Miner's Lettuce is indicative of a healthy oak woodland. This plant tends to be more drought tolerant near the coast or in other cool weather areas.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Annual herb

Max. Height
1 - 1.3 ft (0.3 - 0.4 m)

Max. Width
1 ft (0.3 m)

Upright, Spreading


Growth Rate

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Vernally moist places, often in understory of oaks or larger shrubs

Part Shade

Elevation ?
-247' - 7863'

Annual Precip. ?
5.6" - 121.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 3.46"

Coldest Month ?
30.6° F - 57.4° F

Hottest Month ?
53.9° F - 84.2° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 34.96 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils as long as winter moisture is provided.


Companion Plants
Works well as an annual understory plant with oaks, other trees or larger shrubs. Can be mixed with more showy annuals or perennial herbs.

Wildlife Attracted
A variety of insects

Butterflies hosted ?

Annaphila diva Image
Annaphila divaAnnaphila diva
Annaphila arvalis Image
Annaphila arvalisAnnaphila arvalis

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Low, Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: 2 mos. stratification ( Emery and Frey 1971). It usually re-seeds itself.

Common uses

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Montia perfiolata

Common Names
Chaparral Currant, Miners Lettuce, Minerslettuce

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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