Friday, April 13, 2007

Claytonia Perfoliata

I was out on a walk through the neighborhood with my son and Rosey, just strolling along and pointing out the difference between wood hyacinths and grape hyacinths (I'm a grape hyacinth person, myself) while he busied himself with copious eye-rolling. We walked under some large maple trees and I stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of a large patch of miner's lettuce growing right there in the parking strip.

Now, I've heard about this fleshy little green plant with its round leaf sporting a spray of tiny flowers from its center, and I've even seen bunches at the City Market selling for a hefty sum. But I've never seen them growing in the wild, if wild includes a city parking strip in one of NE Portland's tonier neighborhoods.

I picked a couple of them, hoping that their presence indicated a lack of poisonous chemical spraying, and tasted their fleshy, very mild green flavor that doesn't have a trace of the peppery bite of nasturtium or even arugula. The Wikipedia says it was named after the California gold rush miners who ate it to get their vitamin C to prevent scurvy. So now I need to get some seeds and plant my own. If you've been out hiking and seen some, let me know and I'll go looking for the really wild variety!


Liz Crain said...

Score! I've got a couple spots that I go to in town too. Love it! Another reason to always carry scissors.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Parking strips or parks? I'm looking for less potentially dog-marked spots.