Miner's Lettuce

Genus Montia
Purslane Family (Portulacaceae)

Miner's Lettuce growing in the shade of an old log

Miner's Lettuce
(Montia perfoliata) *

This plant is usually found in moist, shady, protected places in our canyons and on the foothills.

It is a small plant, with various shaped leaves. The most noticeable and distinctive leaves are the ones just below the tiny flowers -- at that point, two leaves join together to form a small dish with flowers growing in the center.

Miner's Lettuce -- close-up

The succulent leaves make excellent salad greens in the spring, and were often used in this way by native Americans, early settlers, and miners living near places where the plant could be found.

* Some books classify this plant as Claytonia perfoliata.