Thursday, August 25, 2011

Big-rooted Spring Beauty

I roamed from the Phoenix suburbs to the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains this summer, where one of my favorite plants thrives. Succulent. Delicate. Long-lived. Claytonia megarhiza is a common alpine plant growing on talus and scree in North American mountain ranges, forming perfect rosettes of leathery leaves surrounded by porcelain white flowers. The magnificent roots can grow to six feet long and up to three inches in diameter! Eighteenth century Virginia botanist John Clayton should be proud to have such a fine species named after him!

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