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Common Name: Spring Beauty

Scientific Name: Claytonia virginica

Habitat & Range: wet, shady, deciduous woods

Bloom Time: spring

About: Yes, we’re hurtling toward winter up here in Michigan, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think about spring. A delicate woodland flower that blooms in April or May, the Spring Beauty is found in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula. Its tubers are eaten like potatoes, but please don’t dig these up as their numbers are being reduced by over-gathering. Foraging is a fun thing to do (if you know what you’re doing and don’t eat anything poisonous) but people who foraged for these plants in the past (because they actually needed to) usually did so with knowledge of how to keep their sources producing. A lot of foraging hobbyists may go into the woods these days with only knowledge of what can be eaten rather than knowledge of how it should be eaten and preserved for the future. That said, if you’re lost in the woods for days on end next spring and you find some of these, I’m sure it’s okay to eat the tubers to keep from starving to death.

Reference: Wildflowers of Michigan by Stan Tekiela; Adventure Publications, 2000