Miners Lettuce gets its name from the California Gold Rush Years. Gold miners ate the plant in abundance and it is widely known that its nutritive properties prevented scurvy.
Miners lettuce is native to the Western Coastal and Mountain regions of North America, where it now also grows wild in California from Sacramento to the San Joaquin Valley. It sprouts most commonly in the spring, preferring cool, damp conditions. It appears in sunlit areas after the first heavy rains of the season. The most prevalent abound in shaded forest areas among fir, pine and oak trees. Miners lettuce colonizes disturbed areas, especially those that experienced fires in previous seasons. It also can be found growing in virgin fields of wheatgrass and bluegrass. Much like most lettuce varieties, when summer heats up so does the lettuce, finding its leaves red and dried out in extreme heat conditions. - See more at: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Miners_Lettuce_5099.php#sthash.gK3Qf4vE.dpufll Claytonia species are somewhat fleshy plants only a few centimeters tall, with showy flowers about 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) across. Known as Miner’s Lettuce, Winter Purslane, or Indian Lettuce, is usually bright green (but sometimes purplish or brownish green), long and narrow. Miner’s Lettuce has a few leaves formed at the base of the plant with a long stem, terminating in a pair of leaves that are grown together and appear as a single circular leaf. Grouped up the pair of leaves are 5-40 small pink or white flowers, each with five petals.
Where to Find: Some species are found in rich forests, where they are conspicuous before the leaves develop. Western species are found throughout most of the northern United States and in Canada. It prefers cool, damp conditions.
Edible Parts: It can be eaten as a leaf vegetable and is most commonly eaten raw in salads. It can be boiled like spinach (and tastes like spinach). It is high in vitamin C.