Winter Purslane is a
annual plant of the UK, typically found growing in cultivated land and dry ground, to a mature height of up to 30cm.
Winter Purslane, a native of North America, was introduced into the UK in the late-eighteenth century. Winter Purslane (also called 'Miner's Lettuce') was so called because it provided a source of salad leaves in the winter. The name 'Purslane' was given to the plant because it was originally in the Portulacacaeae family, members of which are commonly known as Purslanes. In apparent contradiction, Winter Purslane is also known as 'Spring Beauty', but this is because it displays its attractive flowers and leaves in springtime. The flowers are dainty and star-shaped, with splayed-out lustrous white petals. Its leaves are rounded and of two types: spoon-shaped in its basal rosette; and in fused pairs surrounding the stem just beneath the flower clusters.
Botanic classification and naming: Winter Purslane is a member of the Montia (Montiaceae) family. The genus name
'Claytonia' identifies the plant as a Spring Beauty and its species name 'perfoliata' means 'leaves surrounding stem'.