April 23, 2018
trek – 25
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eastern spring beauties
With every recent hike through North Park, I’ve been looking for early woodland wildflowers (I’ve been looking for violets, hoping to find a hillside covered in delicate purple hues) and it wasn’t until yesterday – late April – that I finally saw some. Research names them Eastern Spring-beauties – claytonia virginica. It’s an herbaceous perennial and its native range is Eastern North America. Its scientific name honors Colonial Virginia botanist John Clayton (1694–1773).
This plant has been used medicinally by the Iroquois, who would give a cold infusion of the powdered roots to children suffering from convulsions. They would also eat the raw roots, believing that they permanently prevented conception. They would also eat the roots as food, as would the Algonquin people, who cooked them like potatoes.