Have you come across this plant on one of your hikes in Southern California? It’s delicious in a salad!
Claytonia perfoliata (Miner’s lettuce, Winter Purslane, Spring Beauty, or Indian lettuce; syn. Montia perfoliata) is a fleshy annual plant native to the western mountain and coastal regions of North America from southernmost Alaska and central British Columbia south to Central America, but most common in California in the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin valleys.
The common name Miner’s lettuce refers its use by California Gold Rush miners who ate it to get their vitamin C to prevent scurvy. It can be eaten as a leaf vegetable. Most commonly it is eaten raw in salads, but it is not quite as delicate as other lettuce. Sometimes it is boiled like spinach, which it resembles in taste.