Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata or Montia perfoliata) also known as Indian Lettuce and Winter Purslane is a wild edible plant native to the Western U.S. including here in Utah. It it typically found in moist, shady places in early spring through early summer and possibly in the fall. The first growth of Miner’s lettuce has small paddle shaped leaves. The plants later form a rounded, cup shaped leaf. The tiny, white flowers grow through the middle of the leaves in a small bouquet.
I had purchased some seeds which I was going to plant after moving into my house and then I noticed Miner’s lettuce was already growing in my yard. As an annual that reseeds readily I have never needed to plant it. Growing less than 10″ tall Miner’s lettuce can be used as an attractive groundcover. Just keep in mind it will disappear by Summer and reappear again in fall or the next spring. Seeds are available from Baker Creek and Richter’s. I sometimes have plants available for sale.
Each spring in my area I harvest abundantly beginning in early spring and around May it disappears until the fall or the next spring. I eat it fresh – usually in salads of mixed greens and alone. Miner’s lettuce can also be steamed and eaten like spinach. Miner’s lettuce is a mild flavored green that combines well with some of the stronger flavored wild edibles such as larger dandelion leaves or plantain leaves. Leaves and flowers are both edible at any stage of growth.