Family, Purslane. Color, pink with deeper veinings, or occasionally white with pink veinings. Leaves, long, narrow, grass-like, thick, a pair opposite, on the stem. Sepals, 2. Petals, 5. Stamens, 5, joined to the petals. Flowers, few, in a loose raceme, on long, thick, fleshy stems, from a small tuberous root. April and May.
Delicate, star-like blossoms, on fragile stems. When plucked, the petals quickly close and the whole plant droops. It is at best but an evanescent beauty, opening only in sunlight, closing at night. 6 to 12 inches high. The flowers all turn in one direction - as the botanists say, are secund Common in all our woods. (See illustration, p. 259.)
C. caroliniana has broader leaves, fewer and smaller blossoms. The two species are not often found together. The closing of the petals at night seems to bring about self-pollination, for the pollen falls upon the petals, and they fold over and drop the grains on the stigma.
Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica)
There is no prettier sight than a wood whose trees are lightly leaved out in early May, carpeted thickly with the Claytonia's pink stars. Bryant says:
"And the spring beauty boasts no tenderer streak Than the soft red on many a youthful cheek."
Family, Crowfoot. Color, red and yellow. (See Variegated Flowers, p. 372.)