E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Claytonia megarhiza (A. Gray) Parry ex S. Watson
Alpine Spring Beauty (alpine springbeauty)
Montiaceae (Purslane family)
(Previously in Portulacaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Batten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #66870)

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Distribution of Claytonia megarhiza
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Claytonia megarhiza var. megarhiza

Species Information

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Perennial herb with a massive, more or less woody underground stock bearing thick-branched roots; stems erect, simple, single to several, 1-6 cm tall.
Basal leaves numerous, forming rosettes, elliptic to egg-shaped, the blades 1-5 cm long, narrowing to a membranous-margined stalk 1-3 times as long as the blade; stem leaves paired, opposite, free, reduced, linear-oblanceolate, 1-3 cm long.
Inflorescence of round-topped racemes with 2-9 flowers on stalks 5-40 mm long, bracts present on all flowers; petals white to pink or dark rose, 5-9 mm long, joined at the base; sepals 2, 3-8 mm long, turning reddish with age.
Capsules, 3-valved, egg-shaped, 4-5 mm long; seeds 1-6, round, black, shining, 2-3 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry gravelly slopes, rock outcrops and talus slopes in the alpine zone; rare in SE BC, known only from Goat Mountain; E to S AB and S to CO, UT, NM and NV; disjunct in NT.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Claytonia megarhiza

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 2200 2386 2680
Slope Gradient (%) 52 68 95
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
74 4 346
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 2 4
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: ESSF(2), IMA(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References