Index of Species Information
SPECIES: Claytonia perfoliata
SPECIES: Claytonia perfoliata
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION :
Matthews, Robin F. 1993. Claytonia perfoliata. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/claper/all.html .
Revisions : Photo and information on postfire response after the
2013 Rim Fire added on 23 March 2015.
Montia perfoliata (Donn.) Howell [18,22,27,36]
NRCS PLANT CODE :
COMMON NAMES :
The currently accepted scientific name of miner's-lettuce is Claytonia
perfoliata Donn. (Portulacaceae) [38,44]. The Claytonia perfoliata
complex is a polyploid group of considerable complexity, with several
subspecies and many ecotypes [39,40]. The following subspecies are
Claytonia perfoliata subsp. perfoliata 
Claytonia perfoliata subsp. mexicana (Rydb.) John M. Miller & Chambers 
Claytonia perfoliata subsp. viridis (A. Davidson) Fellows .
Varieties under the synonym Montia perfoliata are listed in several
Miner's-lettuce hybridizes with C. parviflora, C. sibirica, and C. rubra
LIFE FORM :
FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS :
No special status
OTHER STATUS :
DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE
SPECIES: Claytonia perfoliata
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION :
Miner's-lettuce is distributed from British Columbia south to Guatemala
and east to North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, and Arizona
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES23 Fir - spruce
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES30 Desert shrub
FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub
FRES35 Pinyon - juniper
FRES36 Mountain grasslands
FRES37 Mountain meadows
FRES42 Annual grasslands
AZ CA CO ID MT NV ND OR SD UT
WA WY BC MEXICO
BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :
1 Northern Pacific Border
2 Cascade Mountains
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
15 Black Hills Uplift
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands
KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :
K001 Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest
K002 Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K006 Redwood forest
K007 Red fir forest
K009 Pine - cypress forest
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K013 Cedar - hemlock - pine forest
K015 Western spruce - fir forest
K016 Eastern ponderosa forest
K017 Black Hills pine forest
K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K020 Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest
K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland
K024 Juniper steppe woodland
K025 Alder - ash forest
K026 Oregon oakwoods
K028 Mosaic of K002 and K026
K029 California mixed evergreen forest
K030 California oakwoods
K034 Montane chaparral
K035 Coastal sagebrush
K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub
K038 Great Basin sagebrush
K048 California steppe
K051 Wheatgrass - bluegrass
K055 Sagebrush steppe
SAF COVER TYPES :
206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir
207 Red fir
210 Interior Douglas-fir
211 White fir
213 Grand fir
215 Western white pine
221 Red alder
222 Black cottonwood - willow
224 Western hemlock
229 Pacific Douglas-fir
230 Douglas-fir - western hemlock
233 Oregon white oak
234 Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone
235 Cottonwood - willow
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
239 Pinyon - juniper
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
244 Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir
245 Pacific ponderosa pine
246 California black oak
247 Jeffrey pine
248 Knobcone pine
249 Canyon live oak
250 Blue oak - Digger pine
255 California coast live oak
SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES :
HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES :
In addition to the species previously listed under DISTRIBUTION AND
OCCURRENCE information, miner's-lettuce is associated with bigcone
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga macrocarpa), interior live oak (Quercus
wislizeni), and Coulter pine (Pinus coulteri) .
SPECIES: Claytonia perfoliata
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE :
Miner's-lettuce is preferred by cattle in blue oak (Quercus douglasii)
savannas in California . It is also grazed by pocket gophers .
Mourning doves, California quail, and other seed-eating birds consume
the fruits [24,41].
NUTRITIONAL VALUE :
The nutritional composition of miner's-lettuce has been determined to be
37.1 percent protein, 42.5 percent total carbohydrate, and 12.4 percent
crude fiber. The calcium:phosphorus ratio is 0.66:1.0 .
COVER VALUE :
VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES :
OTHER USES AND VALUES :
The blossoms, leaves, and stems of miner's-lettuce may be eaten by
humans at any time during the growing season. They are eaten raw or
cooked, and are a good source of vitamin C [11,37]. Historically,
miner's-lettuce was used as a salad plant and potherb by white settlers
and Native Americans . It was also used to avert or cure scurvy
OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
In California, density and overall yield of miner's-lettuce is greater
in bracken fern communities than in surrounding grasslands [14,15].
This may be due to increased moisture availability in winter and early
spring, when bracken fern is dormant .
Miner's-lettuce is a host to the beet western yellows virus, which is
spread by aphids .
Purslane sawfly larvae, which consume the seeds, afford some biological
control over miner's lettuce [42,43].
BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS
SPECIES: Claytonia perfoliata
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS :
Miner's-lettuce is a native winter or spring annual. It is branched
from the base with stems growing up to 14 inches (35 cm) tall. Leaves
are mostly basal, simple, and 2.4 to 8.0 inches (6-20 cm) long,
including the stalk. Miner's-lettuce has two stem leaves that fuse to
form a disc just below the flower stalk. The elongate stalk bears
numerous small flowers. Fruits are tiny, three-valved capsules
containing one to three seeds. Roots are fibrous [11,22,27,36].
RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :
REGENERATION PROCESSES :
Miner's-lettuce reproduces by seed [24,33,34]. Selfing is the most
common method of pollination, but insect pollination also occurs. Seeds
are dispersed by explosive dehiscence. They are capable of immediate
SITE CHARACTERISTICS :
Miner's-lettuce usually occurs on moist or vernally moist sites
[10,14,18,19,22]. Miller  reported it from a variety of substrates
including river silt, sand, gravel, road tar, loam, rock crevices,
talus, and scree. He also found it on burned sites. Some polyploids
occur on specialized, distinctive sites. The Columbia River Gorge
octoploid, for example, occurs only on north-facing basalt talus slopes
or cliff faces. Other polyploids are more plastic in site requirements
In California, miner's-lettuce is most common below 6,500 feet (2,000 m)
; in Arizona it grows at elevations of 2,500 to 7,500 feet
(750-2,270 m) ; in Utah it grows at elevations of 2,600 to 10,890
feet (800-3,300 m) .
SUCCESSIONAL STATUS :
Miner's-lettuce occurs in all seral stages. It often colonizes
disturbed sites, particularly following fire [22,24]. Miner's lettuce
is also found on virgin fields dominated by bluebunch wheatgrass
(Pseudoroegneria spicata) and Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda) in
southeastern Washington . However, miner's-lettuce is shade tolerant
[22,26,27] and is more prominent under a canopy than in openings in oak
savanna, western white pine (Pinus monticola), and antelope bitterbrush
(Purshia tridentata) communities [3,23,26].
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT :
Time from germination to flowering varied from 33 to 90 days in a
Columbia River Gorge population . Miner's-lettuce flowers from
February to May in Arizona and California [19,27]. In Utah, it flowers
from June to July .
SPECIES: Claytonia perfoliata
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS :
Miner's-lettuce has long-lived seeds that are stored in the soil 
and germinate following fire . It is a prolific seeder ; mass
flowering in the years immediately following a fire recharges the
seed bank . Miner's-lettuce can develop high cover on exposed soil
in full sun .
FIRE REGIMES :
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
"Find Fire Regimes".
POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :
Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)
Secondary colonizer - on-site seed
SPECIES: Claytonia perfoliata
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT :
Miner's-lettuce is probably killed by fire.
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT :
PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE :
Miner's-lettuce was present in the first growing season after the
stand-destroying Marble-Cone wildfire in the Santa Lucia Range of
California in August 1977. Peak cover was reached in postfire year 2
and declined by postfire year 3. Percent frequency of miner's-lettuce
on two study sites that had been dominated by Coulter pine follows :
Site 1978 1979 1980
Chews Ridge site 1 9 36 8
Chews Ridge site 2 7 48 2
Miner's-lettuce is common in recently burned chaparral . A year
after a fire in chaparral in the Sierra Nevada foothills,
miner's-lettuce had high seed production on moist north-east slopes.
Postfire cover quickly exceeded prefire levels . Miner's-lettuce
was also present the year following a severe fire in a chaparral
riparian zone in the Los Padres National Forest, California, but its
frequency was reduced by postfire year 2 .
Miner's lettuce was common the 2nd postfire growing season after the
2013 Rim Wildfire on the Stanislaus National Forest, California. It formed
a lawn on the ground layer of some mesic to wet sites (Fryer 2015
|Miner's lettuce ground layer on the Stanislaus National Forest, 15 months after the 2013 Rim Fire. Photo by Becky Howard.
Miner's-lettuce is also common after fire in more northern portions of
its range. It was present in the first growing season after a fall
wildfire in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) stands in the
Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Idaho, and had increased in frequency by
postfire year 3 . In burned ponderosa pine shelterwood cut units in Idaho,
miner's-lettuce was present in postfire year 1 on sites burned with dry fuels,
but was not present on sites burned with moist fuels. It also was
not present in the prefire vegetation or in unburned control plots .
Miner's-lettuce was present in the first growing season following the
stand-destroying Pattee Canyon wildfire in a Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga
menziesii)/ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus) habitat type in west-central
Montana . It was still present in the herbaceous layer 10 years
On ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir communities in the Blue Mountains
of northeastern Oregon, miner's-lettuce cover and frequency were higher
on sites that had been burned 4 years previously than on thinned,
thinned and burned, or unburned control sites. Miner's-lettuce was
determined to be an indicator species for thinned sites (P≤0.05).
For further information on the effects of thinning and burning treatments
on miner's-lettuce and 48 other species, see the Research Project Summary
of Youngblood and others'  study.
A basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp. tridentata)-Idaho fescue
(Festuca idahoensis)-bluebunch wheatgrass community at the John Day
Fossil Beds National Monument in east-central Oregon was burned in the
spring and fall. Although not in the prefire vegetation, miner's-lettuce
was present in trace amounts (less than 2% frequency) the summer after
the fall prescribed fire. It was not present after the spring fire or
in control plots . See the Research Project Summary of this study
for more information on fire effects on miner's-lettuce and 60 additional
forbs, grasses, and woody plant species.
Miner's-lettuce establishes after fire in disturbed and climax
grasslands in southeastern Washington .
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE :
The Research Project Summary Vegetation response to restoration treatments
in ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forests of western Montana provides
information on prescribed fire and postfire response of plant community
species including miner's-lettuce.
FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
Rapid growth of miner's-lettuce after fire in chaparral in the Sierra
Nevada foothills contributes to an increased food supply for flocking
bird species such as mourning dove and western meadowlark .
SPECIES: Claytonia perfoliata
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