I've really never been a big fan of "Common Names" for plants, but every once in a while, one really hits the nail on the head and "Spring Beauty" is a resoundingly perfect tribute to Claytonia virginica, the earliest of the early, ephemeral Spring wildflowers. Claytonia virginica is native to over half of the US and to several provinces in Canada - USDA Plant Profile It's one of our most beloved harbingers of Spring with its dark green, supple, almost succulent foliage and five petaled white flowers with soft pink veining.
Perhaps no other wildflower announces the new season as fervently as the spring beauty. The spring beauty wildflower (Claytonia virginica) is one of the most common native perennials in eastern North America. Hike through one of Iowa's many nature preserves and parks and you're bound to find a great number of these small, delicate flowers.
Spring beauties are small low-growing wildflowers that are found in a star-like cluster of five white to light pink flowers. Closer examination of the petals will reveal an array of fine pink stripes and a pleasant floral fragrance. The dark green, grass-like leaves are both narrow and linear, and are usually found in pairs. Foliage continues to grow after bloom and may eventually reach close to a foot tall before the leaves disappear in late spring as the plants go into dormancy.
One reason for why the spring beauty is so common is its ability to survive in areas that have suffered land degradation such as livestock grazing and partial tree removal. Many other native woodland wildflowers don’t fare as well under these conditions. The spring beauty however, can thrive in yards with just a few trees present and be quite prolific. When spring beauties and other wildflowers are absent from woodlands, this is a sure sign of severe degradation from plows or bulldozers in the past. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty, Iowa