Plant Data Sheet

Photo by Dave Skinner: images/skinner/mope_p.jpg!Dave Skinner


Species (common name, Latin name)

Common Names: Miner's-lettuce, Claspleaf miner’s lettuce, Indian lettuce

Latin Name: Claytonia perfoliata (Montia perfoliata) (3)



Claytonia perfoliata is found in many different habitats distributed from British Columbia south to Guatemala and east to Alberta and North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, and Arizona (3) and (4)


Climate, elevation

Claytonia perfoliata usually occurs on moist or vernally moist sites and is common at low to medium elevations. (3) and (2)


Local occurrence (where, how common)

In the Seattle area it is uncommon, growing mostly on sandy soil, in open woods or beaches. (6)


Habitat preferences

As noted above, Claytonia perfoliata usually occurs on moist or vernally moist sites, open to shady, often sandy, forests, thickets, and meadows. (2) It can be found in a variety of substrates including river silt, sand, gravel, road tar, loam, rock crevices, talus, and scree. (3)


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional)

Claytonia perfoliata reproduces by seed.  Selfing is the most common method of pollination, but insect pollination also occurs.  Seeds are dispersed by explosive dehiscence.  They are capable of immediate germination. (3)


Claytonia perfoliata occurs in all seral stages. It often colonizes disturbed sites. However, miner's-lettuce is shade tolerant and is more prominent under a canopy than in open areas. (3)


Associated species

Claytonia perfoliata occurs in many plant communities. (3)  For example, bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) and Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda) are associates in southeastern Washington. (3) Associations also include bigcone Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga macrocarpa), interior live oak (Quercus wislizenii), and Coulter pine (Pinus coulteri). (3)


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

Claytonia perfoliata reproduces by seed. (3) It flowers from February to May in Arizona and California. In Utah, it flowers from June to July. (3)


Young (4) reports that seeds are collected between April 4th and July 7th with mature inflorescences begin to split at maturity. Seeds are disc shaped and shiny black at maturity. (4)


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?)

Two different recommendations were found for Claytonia perfoliata:


No pre-planting treatments are required for Claytonia perfoliata. (Young 2001)


Seeds of Claytonia perfoliata require two months’ cold-moist stratification for germination. (Young and Young 1986)


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life)



Recommended seed storage conditions

Seed Cleaning: Seeds are rubbed on screens to separate from pods and chaff. (4)
Storage Conditions: Seeds are kept dry and stored at room temperature. (4)


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

Fully Controlled Greenhouse conditions are recommended with direct seeding of seeds in containers (4)

Other recommendations include sowing seeds in the spring or autumn in situ. The seed usually germinates rapidly. (1) and (3)


Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?)

Claytonia perfoliata may be propagated in a variety of soil media but prefers a moist peaty soil. (1)


Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost)

As noted above, possible to sow seeds directly at the site. It is possible to also install containers with established plants in them into a site as well. (1)


Recommended planting density

Due to it’s small but variable size, Claytonia perfoliata can be planted and seeded quite densely.


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.)

No recommendations found. Plants may need to be watered during first summer of establishment.


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan

No specific information found. Plants do germinate quite rapidly from seed.


Sources cited


1. Plants for a Future—Species Database:


2. Pojar, J. and MacKinnon, A. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing, Redmond, WA. 1994.


3. USDA Forest Service, FEIS website:


4. Young, Betty. 2001. “Propagation protocol for production of container Claytonia perfoliata” Donn. ex Willd. plants (Container Seedling); Golden Gate National Parks, San Francisco, California. In: Native Plant Network. URL: (accessed 9 May 2004). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.


5. Young, J. and Cheryl G. Young.  “Collecting, Processing, and Germinating Seeds of Wildland Plants”.  Timber Press, Portland, OR. 1986


6. Jacobson, Arthur Lee. 2001 “Wild Plants of Greater Seattle” Arthur Lee Jacobson. Seattle, WA.


Data compiled by (student name and date)

Wendy DesCamp 5/19/04