Sunday, January 8, 2012

Miner's Lettuce

      Looking at one of my cold frames at the park, I noticed a small white flower blooming amongst the greens.  It was miner's lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata, a very cold hardy little green that had self seeded from a spring planting.  I will be quite happy if it has naturalized in my garden, as it is an early producer.  A plant native to the Western USA.  It got it's common name from the Gold Rush miners in California who ate it for the high Vitamin C content, a preventative for scurvy.  Both the leaves and flowers are edible, and make a pleasant visual addition to a salad.
      My daughter Emily gave me a little Nikon Coolpix camera for Christmas, and I have been trying to learn about it since then:

Park cold frame,  1/8/12
      In this regular shot, the miner's lettuce is just to the right of the garlic near the top left.  A little closer:

      Now you can see the triangular fleshy leaves of the Claytonia next to the garlic.  The tiny flower stem is off to the right of the Claytonia clump, but then I knew where to look.

      This shot above, taken with the close work setting, was a disappointment when I loaded it to the computer.  The flower is right in the middle of the shot, yet I wanted more, so went back to the park after lunch.  And held the camera closer:

      Much better. Now you can see the cute little five petaled flowers.  Other pictures follow, showing mostly the Claytonia, but at other times just neat textures:

      In photos above, the strappy leaves are garlic, the leaves that look like parsley are actually celery, and quite a few leaves of lettuce are included.  All of which look far too lush, far too green, and far too happy to be growing in Delaware in January without the use of fossil fuel.

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