Native Plant Highlights

What’s in Bloom | Spring Beauty

March 9, 2022

Virginia spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) is a small perennial herb beloved for its attractive, pink-striped white flowers. It grows in rich, moist forest soils and blooms from March to May, produces its seed capsules, and then disappears until spring comes again. There is another Claytonia species native to Virginia, Carolina spring beauty or Broad-leaved spring beauty (C. caroliniana), which is not as widely distributed.

Spring beauty can be allowed to naturalize in a shady lawn to provide spring color in a manner similar to crocuses as it multiplies rapidly in good conditions. Though spring beauty is resistant to grazing and mowing and is hardier than some other spring wildflowers, its absence in a forest is a sign that degradation (especially by heavy machinery) has occurred.  

Benefits to Biodiversity: Spring beauty is an excellent early season resource for pollinators. Various bees including bumblebees, and a wide range of other native bees visit the flowers. Spring beauty also has a specialist pollinator, the Andrenid bee Andrena erigeniae. The corms are dug up my mice and chipmunks, and deer may eat the foliage. 

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