About Miner’s lettuce

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Miner's lettuce Quick Facts
Name: Miner's lettuce
Scientific Name: Claytonia perfoliata
Taste Mild
Miner’s lettuce also known as winter purslane, is an interrelated and interbreeding plants with pair of single leaves which are opposite each other and is separated by a flowering branch. Leaves are completely fused into perfoliate disc which is also known as cauline leaf below the flower stalk. Many early North American settlers use it as food and is popular among miners during California gold rush as it was known to cure and avert scurvy. Stems, leaves and blossoms have high content of Vitamin C, calcium and proteins. Miner’s lettuce seems to possess medicinal properties and also used as spring tonic for restoring appetite and Native Americans use the brew as gentle laxative. This lettuce have mild taste and commonly mixed with other salad leaves such as spinach or lettuce or with paprika, dry mustard, garlic and cloves and used as garnishes for soups or in salads. It is also used in pasta dishes, stir-fries or combined with sorrel to make pesto.

Miner’s lettuce is a small, slightly succulent, herbaceous annual plant which is light green and has round and disk like leaves surrounding smooth and tender stem. As the plant blooms, there is small white and pinkish color flower that grows on top of its rounded leaves.

Flowers

Flowers are five petalled which blooms from February through May. About 5 to 40 white to pale pink flowers occur on slender down curved stalks cluster above a circular to weakly squared, cup like green structure which resembles leaf and completely surrounds the stem.

Leaves

Leaves while young are basal and are narrowly oblancolate narrowing to short petiole. Basal leaves become oval to triangular as it matures helding aloft on long petioles. Cauline leaves lack petioles and opposite on stem fusing at the base forming collar around the stem. Usually leaves are bright green.

Habitat

Generally it is found in winter and early spring in shady spots related with various types of vegetation from coastal sage scrub and chaparral to oak woodland and pine forests. Also found in wetlands but sometimes in non-wetlands. Common in western Canada and U.S. but also grows in Cuba, Central America and Australia.

Health benefits of Miner’s lettuce

  1. Blood purifier

Miner’s lettuce is used by the body to cleanse the body. It is a purifying green which fortifies and filter out blood and lymph systems when consumed. Chlorophyll is antioxidant rich nutrients such as Vitamin C so lettuce acts as a great detoxifier eliminating environmental toxins and heavy metals stored in liver.

  1. Omega fatty acids

Miner’s lettuce is closely associated to wild purslane plant. Purslane is renowned for high level of Omega-3 fatty acids is commonly found in all green leafy vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids act as anti-inflammatory counteracting pro-inflammatory effects of LA omega-6 fats and their derived oils.

Culinary uses

  • Leaves are consumed raw or cooked.
  • Stalks and flowers are consumed raw. Add it to salads.
  • Use it as a lettuce or spinach with paprika, dry mustard, cloves, garlic or use it in salads or garnishes for soups.
  • Use it in pasta dishes, stir fries or combine it with sorrel for making pesto.
  • Make it into fruity miner’s lettuce smoothie by adding pears, berries and bananas.
  • Consume the leaves raw or cooked.
  • Cook and serve it with meat dishes or pair with vegetables or added to pesto.

Medicinal uses

  • Leaves are gently laxative.
  • Use it as a tonic or effective diuretic.
  • Apply the poultice made from mashed plants to rheumatic joints.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=20395#null

https://www.ediblewildfood.com/miners-lettuce.aspx

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