Color variations in Claytonia sp.

jack sanders jfsanders at
Fri Jun 23 10:05:20 EST 1995

Some colonies of spring-beauty (such as Claytonia caroliniana or C. virginica) 
tend to have blossoms whose petals are white. These may have very light pink
lines or dark pink lines. 

Other colonies have petals that are brightly blushed pink, with deeper pink

Is it possible that the pinker varieties of Claytonia develop through natural
selection in areas where bumblebees, which are more attracted to pink flowers
than white ones, are the chief pollinators, and that white varieties are found 
in areas where smaller bees and flies that are drawn to white flowers provide
the pollination? 

Are pink flowers more prevalent in warmer parts of the plants' ranges, where
bumblebees are more apt to be around, and white in colder parts, where
bumblebees are rare or absent in early spring? 

I am doing research on spring-beauty for a chapter in a book and would
appreciate any comment on the above, as well as any anecdotes, observations or 
lore about Claytonia in general. 

Many thanks.

Jack Sanders, Ridgefield, Conn. jfsanders at

 "Nothing in nature does more to beautify our world. Their countless
 colors and endless designs can be found almost anywhere the sun
 hits the earth -- from fields to woods, deserts to ponds, and even in
 junkyards, dumps and cracks in concrete."  --from Hedgemaids and
 Fairy Candles:   The Lives and Lore of North American Wildflowers,
 Ragged Mountain Press/McGraw Hill, 1993

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