Plant of the day: candy flower

 

Leggy stalks sprawl at the base of an oak tree, or single plants grow scattered under some rushes. Candy flower, or Claytonia siberica, can have several different growth forms depending on where it is – and how old it is. The five petals are white or pale pink, and striped with a darker pink (I wonder if the name candy flower came from the classic uniform of the “candy stripers”?)

You can tell by looking at the fleshy leaves that this is a close relative of miner’s lettuce, though they don’t have the distinctive circular form. Instead, there is usually just one set of paired leaves, and a long stalk of flowers that rises above that. Candy flower prefers to grow in swamps or on moist slopes. Even if the ground doesn’t look wet, it’s a good indicator that there’s moisture around at least part of the time.

Candy Flower

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