Friday, April 22, 2011

Pale Spring Beauty

In April of 2007, we found Pale Montia (aka Pale Spring Beauty) plants on the bare sand between the beach and the houses in Beach Grove. I've been watching for them every year since, with no luck. Until now, 4 years later.

Claytonia exigua, aka Montia exigua aka Montia spathulata

These are tiny succulents; the tallest this year were about 2 inches high. They're translucent, leaves, stems and all, and glow in the sunlight in colours from grey-green to a dusty pink with lime green tints, to a rose pink, to a deep violet, all looking good enough to eat.

Another greyish pink plant, with flowers.

The central "stalks" are basal leaves. The true stems are round, topped with two leaves cupping a clump of white flowers.

Rosy pink.

These look as if they would be a pretty addition to a salad. I wondered if they are edible, so I asked Google.

Yes! The plant is a member of the Portulaca (Purslane) family, of which many are edible and even delicious, and next, of the genus Montia, which includes Miner's lettuce, a good salad vegetable. Other names for Spring Beauty include "Indian lettuce" and sandcress. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.

And now that I know that, I don't think I'll be sampling the next one I see. They're too tiny, too rare, and too beautiful to eat.

1 comment:

  1. They are, indeed, fascinating and beautiful.

    We have lots of sea-purslane round here (taller and greener and tougher) but I have no idea if it is edible.

    I've put your sandals beside the link to your blog.



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