Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spring Beauty

Every spring, Erika and I find Spring Beauty flowers. Usually they are solitary or in small clusters. This year, however, we were surprised to find them growing in luxuriant mats. I blogged about Spring Beauty in 2011 and 2013.

Spring Beauty's scientific name is Claytonia virginica. The species name, virginica, simply means that the plant is from Virginia. Claytonia has a more interesting derivation. In the early 1700s, John Clayton was a Virginia county clerk whose passion was botany. He sent specimens to Mark Cateby (a naturalist who was also a famous ornithologist) who forwarded many of Clayton’s specimens to European botanists. Among these Europeans was Linnaeus, who, in 1730, using Clayton’s collections, named 400 new plant species, including Spring Beauty (Gracie 2012).

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