MINER'S LETTUCE "Miner's lettuce" (Montia perfoliata) was a favorite of the vegetable starved forty-niners. It's one of the most plentiful-and easy to recognize-wild edibles in the western U.S. (which is where it's mainly found). It's also one of few native American plants that have been introduced into Europe, where it's known as "winter purslane".
Miner's lettuce grows in moist, rich soils in forests, along streams, and at the bases of cliffs. You'll recognize the plant by its distinctive, saucer-shaped leaves, which have the appearance of being "stabbed" through the center by their supporting stem. At its tip, the stem bears one or more small, five-petaled flowers which are usually white, but occasionally pinkish.
Next to watercress, I prefer miner's lettuce over all other wild salad greens. The plant's succulent, vitamin-C-rich leaves and stems are delicious on sandwiches (far superior, in fact, to store-bought lettuce) . . . and—combined with watercress (or other cresses), wild onions, and Indian celery—they make a delicious wilted salad. In addition, the greens are very good cooked (as are the plant's roots) and-when pureed—form the basis for a unique creamed soup.
Boiled, wilted, pureed, or fresh picked, there's only one word for miner's lettuce: scrumptious!
The miner's lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) is generally described as a Annual, Perennial Forb or herb. This Dicot (dicotyledon) is native to the U.S. (United States) and has its most active growth period in the Spring . The Miner's Lettuce has Green foliage and conspicuous White flowers, with conspicuous Brown fruits or seeds. The greatest bloom is usually observed in the Mid Spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the Spring and continuing until Spring. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Miner's Lettuce has a Short life span relative to most other plant species and a Rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Miner's Lettuce will reach up to 1 foot high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 1 foot.
The Miner's Lettuce is usually not commercially available except under contract. It can be propagated by Seed. It has a Moderate ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have Medium vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below 52°F. Miner's Lettuce has None tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions. -gardenguides.com
it grows in the dappled shade of oak trees here very early spring sierra nevada foothills. as long as you selectively harvest the leaves when young instead of chopping the whole plant. you can come back year after year to harvest once you find good patches.
The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Dianne Keast wrote: Oh I would love to get my hands on some seeds to grow here!
Sounds like a plan. I'm pretty sure most of the stuff is so dead right now that the seeds are in the soil, but I'll go and look in the really cool rocky parts to see if I can find some . ..if not I'll try next spring. I'd be happy to share!!
miner's lettuce and chickweed grow well together (and make a great salad) in the southeastern US and self-sow vigorously. Plant them once in a habitat that they can grow in and you are set for a long time!
"Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari
Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
If people want it and can't get seed from a wild plant it's available from a lot of seed companies now, even some major ones. It's become more common in gourmet salad mixes and is sold as a 'specialty' green in a lot of places. Sometimes it's sold as "Claytonia" or Winter Purslane.
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