Claytonia caroliniana and Claytonia virginica
John Ford set me straight on this new fact today: There are two kinds of Spring Beauties in our area. Above is the “wide-leaved” Spring Beauty, or Claytonia caroliniana. The single pair of leaves on this small plant are ovate to lanceolate; the margin is entire. The lovely pink to white flowers are ornate -the 5 petals of each flower are adorned with dark pink stripes that really catch your eye. Look for the Carolina Spring Beauty early in the season–it won’t be around for long!
The second kind of Spring Beauty is the most common: Claytonia virginica is just called Spring Beauty. The leaves on this species are long, narrow, and somewhat grass-like. The white to pink petals of the flower are lightly etched with pink veins. It is also known as “wild Potato” because the round corm of the plant is edible.
Of the two species, the Carolina Spring Beauty is less common. The photos of the Carolina Spring Beauties were taken in mid-April along Rock Castle Creek Gorge in Floyd County.