Carolina spring beauty

(Claytonia caroliniana var. caroliniana)

Conservation Status


No image available

  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


Carolina spring beauty was listed by the Minnesota DNR as a state special concern species in 1984. Plant surveys found it to be more widespread and more common than previously believed, and it was delisted in 2013

Wetland Indicator Status

FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Carolina spring beauty is a 3 to 6 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 to a few stems from a rounded, vertical, thickened corm. This is a spring ephemeral.

The stems are hairless and light green or reddish green.

There are 6 to 21 basal leaves rising on long leaf stalks. The blades are egg-shaped or spatula-shaped. The stem has a single pair of opposite leaves. They are hairless and on stalks that are clearly distinct from the leaf blades. The blades are egg-shaped or spatula-shaped, 13 16 to 4 long but usually no longer than 2, and to 13 16 wide but usually no wider than . All of the leaves are 3 to 8 times as long as wide.

The inflorescence is an unbranched, elongated, loose cluster at the end of the stem, with several flowers on slender flower stalks.

The flowers are fragrant and to ½ in diameter. They have 5 petals that are white or pinkish with fine pink stripes. There are only 2 sepals beneath the petals. On sunny days the flowers open and the stems become erect. On cloudy days and at night the buds remain closed and the stalks droop.

The fruit is an egg-shaped capsule with several seeds.




3 to 6


Flower Color


White or pinkish with fine pink stripes


Similar Species

  Virginia spring beauty (Claytonia virginica var. virginica) has linear leaves that are at least 8 times as long as wide. The stem leaves are stalkless or on short stalks that are not clearly differentiated from the leaf. It is far more common in eastern Minnesota.  

Moderate moisture. Woods. Dappled sunlight.




April to June




Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 28, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (dicots)  
  Subclass Rosidae  
  Superorder Caryophyllanae  


Caryophyllales (pinks, cactuses, and allies)  


Montiaceae (pussypaw)  
  Genus Claytonia (spring beauty)  
  Section Claytonia  
  Species Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina spring beauty)  

Subordinate Taxa








Common Names


broad-leaf spring-beauty

Carolina spring beauty

Carolina springbeauty

Carolina spring-beauty

spring beauty














A short, solid, vertical, thickened, underground stem that serves as a storage organ.



Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.


Spring ephemeral

Early blooming, short-lived wildflower that emerges in early spring and disappears by early summer. They develop above-ground parts in March or April, quickly flower and go to seed, then die back to their underground parts by May or June.

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  Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana)  



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