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: []. Revisions : Photo and information on postfire response after the 2013 Rim Fire added on 23 March 2015. ABBREVIATION : CLAPER SYNONYMS : Montia perfoliata (Donn.) Howell [18,22,27,36] NRCS PLANT CODE : CLPE COMMON NAMES : miner's-lettuce claspleaf miner's-lettuce Indian-lettuce TAXONOMY : 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 recognized: Claytonia perfoliata subsp. perfoliata [39] Claytonia perfoliata subsp. mexicana (Rydb.) John M. Miller & Chambers [38] Claytonia perfoliata subsp. viridis (A. Davidson) Fellows [39]. Varieties under the synonym Montia perfoliata are listed in several floras [19,27,35,36,38]. Miner's-lettuce hybridizes with C. parviflora, C. sibirica, and C. rubra [38,40]. LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


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 [17,18,19,22,36,38]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES20  Douglas-fir    FRES21  Ponderosa pine    FRES22  Western white pine    FRES23  Fir - spruce    FRES27  Redwood    FRES28  Western hardwoods    FRES29  Sagebrush    FRES30  Desert shrub    FRES34  Chaparral - mountain shrub    FRES35  Pinyon - juniper    FRES36  Mountain grasslands    FRES37  Mountain meadows    FRES42  Annual grasslands STATES :      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    K033  Chaparral    K034  Montane chaparral    K035  Coastal sagebrush    K037  Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub    K038  Great Basin sagebrush    K039  Blackbrush    K041  Creosotebush    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    217  Aspen    221  Red alder    222  Black cottonwood - willow    224  Western hemlock    229  Pacific Douglas-fir    230  Douglas-fir - western hemlock    232  Redwood    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 : NO-ENTRY 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) [40].


SPECIES: Claytonia perfoliata
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Miner's-lettuce is preferred by cattle in blue oak (Quercus douglasii) savannas in California [5].  It is also grazed by pocket gophers [6]. Mourning doves, California quail, and other seed-eating birds consume the fruits [24,41]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY 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 [37]. COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY 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 [19].  It was also used to avert or cure scurvy [37]. 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 [14]. Miner's-lettuce is a host to the beet western yellows virus, which is spread by aphids [43].  Purslane sawfly larvae, which consume the seeds, afford some biological control over miner's lettuce [42,43].


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 : Therophyte 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 germination [39]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Miner's-lettuce usually occurs on moist or vernally moist sites [10,14,18,19,22].  Miller [39] 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 [40]. In California, miner's-lettuce is most common below 6,500 feet (2,000 m) [38]; in Arizona it grows at elevations of 2,500 to 7,500 feet (750-2,270 m) [19]; in Utah it grows at elevations of 2,600 to 10,890 feet (800-3,300 m) [36]. 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 [8].  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 [39].  Miner's-lettuce flowers from February to May in Arizona and California [19,27].  In Utah, it flowers from June to July [1].


SPECIES: Claytonia perfoliata
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Miner's-lettuce has long-lived seeds that are stored in the soil [33] and germinate following fire [34].  It is a prolific seeder [24]; mass flowering in the years immediately following a fire recharges the seed bank [33].  Miner's-lettuce can develop high cover on exposed soil in full sun [31]. 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 : NO-ENTRY 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 [16]:                      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 [20].  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 [24].  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 [9]. 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 personal observation).
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 [25].  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 [30].
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 [7].  It was still present in the herbaceous layer 10 years
later [34].

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 (P0.05).
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' [45] 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 [29].  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 [8].

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.

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 [24].


SPECIES: Claytonia perfoliata
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