I was planning to write a post on all the great wildflowers I’ve gotten to see this early spring, but I found so many photos of one particular plant, that I decided to focus on it alone. Here in Wisconsin, we are lucky enough to have two different species of Spring Beauty: Claytonia caroliniana, which is found in the northern reaches of the state, and Claytonia virginica, found pretty much everywhere else.
Shown side-by-side, you can see that the C. virginica has long, thin leaves with almost indistinguishable stems – they look almost like grass (until they bloom). The C. caroliniana has wider leaves attached to obvious stems. In both species, the name is clearly accurate – they are among the first ephemeral woodland wildflowers to bloom in the spring, and their colors and delicacy are certainly beautiful.
I never knew about the C. caroliniana until I moved up north, and saw it blooming last year. The photos of that species were taken in Florence County in far northeastern Wisconsin; the C. virginica was taken in the north central part of the state, in Taylor County. Do you have spring beauties where you live? Are they one of these species, or yet another one?