Why Grow It
It might sound like a thrash metal band, but claytonia (also called winter purslane or miner’s lettuce) is in fact a really useful, hardy, heart-shaped winter salad green that can be used to bulk up winter salads and stirfries. It was called miner’s lettuce after the Gold Rush miners who valued its high vitamin C content to ward off scurvy.
Claytonia is a succulent, almost-meaty salad green that will also withstand cooking (so is excellent as an alternative to spinach) and is very easy to grow. Though claytonia will grow in the spring/summer, its real value is as a winter-hardy green, providing us with winter greens from October or November right up until April of the following year.
Claytonia deteriorates quickly once picked, which means you can rarely purchase it commercially – all the more reason to grow it yourself.