Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina Spring Beauty)
|Also known as:||Northern Spring Beauty|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; moist cool woods|
|Bloom season:||April - June|
|Plant height:||3 to 6 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: none MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are in a raceme at the top of the plant that elongates to several inches as the plant matures. Each flower is ½ inch across with 5 pale pink to white petals with darker pink veins, and 5 stamens with deep pink tips. The flowers close up at night and on cloudy days. Closed flowers and buds nod down and become erect when the flower opens. One plant has a single cluster of 5 or more flowers, though not all may be open at the same time.
Leaves and stem:
A single pair of leaves are oppositely attached about midway up the stem. Leaves are up to 3 inches long and ½ to ¾ inch wide, have a prominent central vein, smooth edges, taper to a point at the tip and taper at the base to an obvious leaf stem.The main stem is mostly erect but may be sprawling.
This species is very similar to Virginia Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) but leaves on the latter are longer and very narrow. Virginia Spring Beauty is also much more common throughout E-SE Minnesota. Carolina Spring Beauty is restricted to the narrow Sawbill Mountains of the Arrowhead and as such, is classified as a species of Special Concern.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken in Crosby-Manitou State Park in Lake County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?