Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina Spring Beauty)

Plant Info
Also known as: Northern Spring Beauty
Family:Portulacaceae (Purslane)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; moist cool woods
Bloom season:April - June
Plant height:3 to 6 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: none MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in a raceme at the top of the plant that elongates to several inches as the plant matures. Each flower is ½ inch across with 5 pale pink to white petals with darker pink veins, and 5 stamens with deep pink tips. The flowers close up at night and on cloudy days. Closed flowers and buds nod down and become erect when the flower opens. One plant has a single cluster of 5 or more flowers, though not all may be open at the same time.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] A single pair of leaves are oppositely attached about midway up the stem. Leaves are up to 3 inches long and ½ to ¾ inch wide, have a prominent central vein, smooth edges, taper to a point at the tip and taper at the base to an obvious leaf stem.The main stem is mostly erect but may be sprawling.


This species is very similar to Virginia Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) but leaves on the latter are longer and very narrow. Virginia Spring Beauty is also much more common throughout E-SE Minnesota. Carolina Spring Beauty is restricted to the narrow Sawbill Mountains of the Arrowhead and as such, is classified as a species of Special Concern.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Minnesota Goose Garden

Native Plant Nurseries, Restoration and Landscaping Services ↓

Map of native plant resources in the upper midwest

  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land
  • Landscape Alternatives
  • ReWild Native Gardens
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at!
  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds

More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken in Crosby-Manitou State Park in Lake County


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Fran - Oberg Mountain
on: 2011-05-23 21:23:32

Hiked Oberg Mountain, Monday, May 23 in afternoon and saw numerous plants in bloom. Took many photos, but not yet downloaded. Really spectacular. Thanks for the wonderful website to help identify plant sightings.

Posted by: Kim - Battle Creek Park
on: 2013-04-21 20:07:33

There were quite a few of these flowers, last year 2012, right off the trail in the front lot off of 10 61 by the bike trail next to the rock.

Posted by: Nick - Lutsen, Cook County
on: 2013-05-26 14:05:45

Hiked Oberg Mountain today and saw many of these blooming. Covering the forest floor, it was one of the only things blooming in this late spring.

Posted by: Bob - W of Judge Magney SP in woods N or Lake Superior
on: 2014-06-05 09:33:52

Very nice patch along private trail in woods near Judge Magney State Park. Seems to be thriving over the years.

Posted by: Todd - Toimi Minnesota
on: 2015-04-07 22:08:04

These "beauties" thrive on my property. 47°23'22.98" N 91°48'00.60" W

Posted by: AJ Moses - Jackson Lake Road - just off the Arrowhead Trail
on: 2017-05-28 20:39:30

Many plants in bloom - we walked about 3 miles - these beauties were everywhere. Plants looked healthy.

Posted by: Marisa - Lake County
on: 2018-05-20 20:58:29

My cousin's property along Silver Creek, just off Highway 2 in Lake County, is covered in these. I've never seen them at my dad's place, which is not far away off Highway 3 but is more swampy.

Posted by: Joe L - Crosby Manitou State Park
on: 2018-06-04 08:31:30

small cluster of about 5 plants along side the trail.

Posted by: Peter - Superior National Forest, near Trout Lake
on: 2019-05-25 20:46:48

I found a large area of these in bloom at the top of the ridge near Trout Lake, a few miles east of the Gunflint Trail. The forest in this area is dominated by mature sugar maples, with a fairly open forest floor.

Posted by: Marissa Sienko - Jay Cooke State Park
on: 2019-05-27 23:55:57

I was hiking along the Silver Creek Trail at Jay Cooke State Park and stumbled upon these little beauties! I took a picture and put it as my phone wallpaper. It had been bugging me not knowing what these were but I found them on this website! I found many that had that same pinkish striped pattern, but none matched until I found this Carolina Spring Beauty! If you come across these, be sure to snap a pic!

Posted by: gary - Cook County
on: 2019-06-01 22:17:23

All throughout the sugar maple forest on Leveaux Mountain.

Posted by: Janene Roessler - Root River Bike Trail near Old Barn Resort, Fillmore County
on: 2020-04-19 12:51:18

How can I send a photo?

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.