Claytonia caroliniana and Claytonia virginica
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 sweetly marked –each of the 5 petals is adorned with dark pink stripes that radiate out from the center of the flower.
The second type of Spring Beauty is the most common one–it is called Virginia Spring Beauty or just Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica). Here, the leaves are quite different from the Carolina species. They are long and 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. See the images below and note the tread-like (or strap-like) leaves.
Of the two species, the Carolina Spring Beauty is less common. The photos of the Carolina Spring Beauties were taken in late March along Mill Creek in Narrows, VA, and in mid-April along Rock Castle Creek Gorge in Floyd County. The Virginia Spring Beauties were photographed in Blacksburg.