Friday, May 21, 2010

Carolina Springbeauty (Claytonia caroliniana)?

Two Claytonia sp. – the Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina Springbeauty) and the Claytonia virginica (Spring Beauty) - grow in the eastern United States. These species differ in the shape of the flower petals and leaves. The leaves of C. caroliniana are broader than those of C. virginica. The petals of both the C. caroliniana and C. virginica are veined; the petals of the former usually have purple veins and the petals of the later have pink veins. The petals of C. virginica overlap whereas those of the C. caroliniana are separated with little overlap.

According to Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia, Claytonia virginica grows throughout Georgia whereas Claytonia caroliniana only grows in the far north of Georgia – considerably north of where we live in Walton County.

Here is the plant that grows at the end of our house in a small area – probably not more than 10 feet square - in shade to partial sun.

A single plant. It’s leaves are broad, almost diamond shaped; they seem broader than those of C. caroliniana

A flower, flower buds, and a pair of leaves

Close ups of the flower, face on. The petals are more (oar) blade shaped than those in photos of either C. caroliniana or C. virginica. The petals show some suggestion of colored-veins but it is not pronounced as in photos of C. caroliniana or C. virginica.

This flower appears to be most closely related to C. caroliniana based on both leaves and flowers. But is it? If it is C. caroliniana, the range for this species is a little further south than indicated in the range shown in the University of North Carolina Herbarium map.

Any thoughts? I’d really appreciate being able to confirm the identification of this flower

Claytonia caroliniana
and C. virginica are native to the eastern United States and Canada; their ranges overlap.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:

United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database:
- Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina Springbeauty)

- Claytonia virginica
(Virginia Springbeauty)

University of North Carolina Herbarium
Claytonia caroliniana
- Claytonia virginica

Identification resources
Southeastern Flora:
- Carolina Springbeauty (Claytonia caroliniana)

- Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)
Native & Naturalized Plants of Georgia and the Carolinas:

- Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana)

- Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

Related posts:

- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower


Greg Laden said...

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Joy K. said...

The luster on the petals is especially lovely--a little waxy, maybe.

JSK said...

They do look as if they could be waxy. I'll have to wait until next year to try and figure this out. They are so small, I'll probably have to crush one to test.