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!

2 comments:

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.

KAB said...

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