Claytonia

Linnaeus

Sp. Pl. 1: 204. 1753

,

Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 96. 1754

Common names: Spring beauty
Etymology: for John Clayton, 1686–1773, physician and plant collector in Virginia
Synonyms: Belia Steller ex J. G. Gmelin Limnia Haworth
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Treatment on page 465. Mentioned on page 457, 458.
Herbs, usually annual or perennial, occasionally biennial in Claytonia rubra. Roots branched, capillary or fibrous. Stems: subterranean stems tubers, rhizomes, or woody caudices, sometimes with multiple forms on single individuals (e.g., C. umbellata and C. tuberosa); aerial stems erect or decumbent; nodes glabrous. Leaves basal and cauline, not articulate at base, somewhat to markedly clasping, attachment points linear; basal leaves few to several in rosettes, blade linear, lanceolate, oblanceolate, spatulate, trullate, rhomboid, ovate, or deltate, apex obtuse to apiculate; cauline leaves 2 and opposite, rarely 3 and whorled, distinct or partially or completely connate, or perfoliate, blade linear to ovate. Inflorescences terminal, racemose or umbellate, secund, bracteate; bracts leaflike or membranous and scalelike. Flowers showy; sepals persistent, leaflike, unequal; petals 5; stamens 5, adnate to petal bases; ovary globose, ovules 3 or 6; style 1; stigmas 3. Capsules 3-valved, longitudinally dehiscent from apex, valves not deciduous, margins hygroscopic, involute. Seeds (1–)3–6, black, rounded, shiny and smooth to tuberculate, with white elaiosome; seeds dispersed ballistically and by ants. x = 5, 6, 7, 8.

Distribution

North America, (including Mexico), Central America (Guatemala), Asia, adventive in Europe and New Zealand. A related species, Claytonia joanneana Roemer & Schultes, occurs in the Altai Mountains of Siberia and Mongolia.

Discussion

Species 26 (25 in the flora).

Key

1 Plants annual, sometimes biennial, with minute, tuberous bodies > 2
1 Plants perennial, with stolons, rhizomes, tubers, or woody caudices > 10
2 Inflorescences with 2-several bracts (rarely only 2); proximalmost bract leaflike, distal bracts leaflike or reduced to membranous scales > 3
2 Inflorescence ebracteate or 1-bracteate; bract leaflike > 5
3 Flowers 4-8 mm diam.; petals not candy-striped; basal leaf blades rhombic or ovate Claytonia washingtoniana
3 Flowers 8-20 mm diam.; petals white, candy-striped, or pink; basal leaf blades linear to deltate > 4
4 Cauline leaf blades linear; distal bracts reduced to membranous scales; seeds (1-)6 Claytonia arenicola
4 Cauline leaf blades broad; distal bracts leaflike; seeds (1-)3 Claytonia sibirica
5 Flowers 10-15 mm diam.; inflorescences ebracteate Claytonia saxosa
5 Flowers 2-12 mm diam.; inflorescences 1-bracteate > 6
6 Basal leaf blades usually trullate or rhombic to deltate, sometimes spatulate, less than 3 times longer than wide > 7
6 Basal leaf blades usually linear, sometimes spatulate, blade much longer than wide > 8
7 Basal rosettes flattened to suberect; leaf blades trullate, spatulate, or narrowly rhombic to ovate, apex obtuse, red pigmentation often strong even in juvenile plants Claytonia rubra
7 Basal rosettes suberect to erect, seldom flattened; leaf blades broadly rhombic to deltate or reniform, apex obtuse to apiculate, red pigmentation often weak Claytonia perfoliata
8 Seeds often smooth or with low tubercles, not pebbly; leaf blades not glau- cous, green or pink Claytonia parviflora
8 Seeds often tuberculate and pebbly; leaf blades glaucous, gray, beige, or pink > 9
9 Flowers 3-5 mm diam Claytonia exigua
9 Flowers 6-12 mm diam Claytonia gypsophiloides
10 Plants with tubers sometimes connected by rhizomes > 11
10 Plants with rhizomes or woody caudices > 19
11 Bracts 2 or more, distal bracts leaflike or reduced to membranous scales; cauline leaves often strongly tapered in basal 1/2 > 12
11 Bracts 1 or absent, (rarely 2 in C. caroliniana); cauline leaves seldom tapered in no more than basal 1/4 > 15
12 Bracts all leaflike; tubers napiform Claytonia ogilviensis
12 Proximalmost bract leaflike, distal bracts reduced to membranous scales; tubers globose > 13
13 Petals white with yellow blotch at base Claytonia tuberosa
13 Petals white, pink, rose, magenta, cream, yellow, or yellow-orange, lacking yellow blotch at base > 14
14 Petals pink, rose, or magenta Claytonia rosea
14 Petals white, cream, yellow, or yellow-orange Claytonia multiscapa
15 Bracts absent; petals pink to magenta Claytonia umbellata
15 Bracts present; petals white, white with yellow blotch at base, yellow, orange, or candy-striped (sometimes pink, rose, or magenta in C. caroliniana, C. lanceolata, and C. virginica) > 16
16 Cauline leaf blades linear, 0.2-1.2 cm wide, tapered to slender base > 17
16 Cauline leaf blades lanceolate or spatulate to ovate, 0.4-2.5 cm wide, abruptly petiolate or sessile > 18
17 Petals white, pinkish, or rose, candy-striped, rarely yellow or orange, or white with pink-lavender candy-stripes; e North America to Texas Claytonia virginica
17 Petals white with yellow blotch at base; Alaska, Yukon Claytonia tuberosa
18 Basal leaves 6-21; cauline leaves petiolate; e North America Claytonia caroliniana
18 Basal leaves 1-6 or absent; cauline leaves sessile; w North American cordillera Claytonia lanceolata
19 Plants with woody caudices > 20
19 Plants rhizomatous > 22
20 Basal leaves and bracts with apex acute; petals white or pink to bright rose with yellow blotches at base, or white Claytonia acutifolia
20 Basal leaves and bracts (where present) with apex obtuse; petals usually pink to magenta, sometimes yellow or white > 21
21 Stems 1-10 cm; bracts absent; Alaska Claytonia arctica
21 Stems 10-50 cm; bracts present; not in Alaska Claytonia megarhiza
22 Bracts present; seeds (1-)3 > 23
22 Bracts absent; seeds (1-)6 > 24
23 Cauline leaves equal, sessile, blade lanceolate to ovate; basal leaf blades 1-5 cm wide Claytonia sibirica
23 Cauline leaves unequal, petiolate, blade linear to spatulate; basal leaf blades 0.1-1 cm wide Claytonia palustris
24 Rhizomes 0.5-3 mm diam.; Alaska, Yukon, n British Columbia > 25
24 Rhizomes 4-8 mm diam.; w United States > 26
25 Basal leaf baldes linear to narrowly spatualte, 1-10 × 0.1-1 cm Claytonia scammaniana
25 Basal leaf blades elliptic to spatulate, 1-8 × 1-2 cm Claytonia sarmentosa
26 Basal leaf blades deltate to ovate or cordate; cauline leaf blades 1-5 cm; petals white Claytonia cordifolia
26 Basal leaf blades spatulate to rhombic or ovate; cauline leaf blades 0.5-2 cm; petals pink to magenta Claytonia nevadensis