Claytonia perfoliata ssp. intermontana   common miner's lettuce
           (Alt: Montia perfoliata )
Montiaceae (Alt: Portulacaceae )
native                      herbaceous           
Distribution: Mid Elevation, Conifer Zone, Foothills, Lucky Peak, Greenbelt

UW Burke Herbarium Link: Claytonia perfoliata ssp. intermontana
USDA Plants Link: Claytonia perfoliata ssp. intermontana   (CLPE)

In 1946, Bernice Bjornson quotes a “historical note” that explains why this species was called miner’s lettuce:   “Among the gold miners of ’49 it was particularly valued.  In the wild rush for wealth they were too occupied to plant gardens, yet they needed, and craved fresh vegetables, and in their dried and salted rations there was the constant menace of scurvy.  Seeing the Indians gather the wild lettuce, they quickly adopted it to their needs in many a savory dish of ‘greens and bacon’” (Haskin 1934).

More recently, there has been push-back against crediting the miners with a valued plant whose use they learned from the Native Americans.  As one option, the Ohlone name “Rooreh” has been adopted as the common name by the Jepson eFlora (R. Anderson 2022); however, this is just one of the many possible names used by the wide diversity of tribes with traditional territory in the species’ expansive range.


Anderson, R.  2022.  Collaboration with Ohlone cultural leaders results in changing a common name in the Jepson eFlora.  The Jepson Globe 32(2): 1-2.

Haskin, L. L.  1934.  Wild Flowers of the Pacific Coast.  Metropolitan Press, Portland, OR.

Trail guides, walks or articles that mention Claytonia perfoliata ssp. intermontana