Miner's Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata, is also known in some quarters as Winter Purslane, Spring Beauty, or Indian Lettuce. It is an annual that is found in the Western United States as well as parts of Alaska, British Columbia and down into Central America. Native Americans ate the leaves. It was an important source of the kind of vitamins that a person living in the modern world would normally get from more traditional vegetables. It takes it's common name from the fact that Gold Rush Miners ate it to avoid contracting scurvy. It was a favorite component of salads, but was also boiled and eaten in place of spinach.

Miner's Lettuce

Miner's Lettuce

Miner's Lettuce

The scientific name for Miner's Lettuce honors an eighteenth century Virginian plant collector named John Clayton, even though Miner's Lettuce does not grow in Virginia. That honor was conferred by none other than Carl Linnaeus, the famous eighteenth century Swedish botanist who is regarded to be the father of modern plant taxonomy. Here in The Sea Ranch, you will find Claytonia perfoliata thriving in moist, shady localities, frequently tucked into a patch of grass. It will produce tiny blossoms from February through May.

An example of the natural foods that are all around us, but unrecognized as such.