Spring Beauty is a Native Bulb

In Central Pennsylvania our last frost-free day is typically the 15th of May and we’ll expect all the Spring happenings to be in full swing by then.

Violets are blooming in earnest now. We have the Northern Downy Violet, Arrow-leaved Violet and the Common Blue Violet popping up in the yards and driveway. They don’t seem to mind the rocks and clay that we have for “soil” up here on the mountain.

Early spring flowers of the familiar bulbs that herald Spring are already faded or dried up and blown away. The greenery of the crocus, daffodil, hyacinth and tulip are still growing strong and collecting energy for reproductive purposes. After the leaves yellow the bulbs can be dug up and replanted to allow them to spread out.

A native plant with a large bulb for its size is the dainty little Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica. Early Americans are said to have eaten the bulbs or tubers as a potato substitute. They’re edible, but small. It would take quite a number of plants to make a meal. Spring beauty tubers are up to a half inch in diameter. Perhaps a nice thing to know if you’re leaning toward survivalism, but not worth digging really. Let’s just enjoy their beauty, shall we?

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