Getting started

Before you start, you’ll need to

1) Locate one or more patches of Claytonia.

Hopefully you’ve noticed some patches of spring beauty (either Claytonia virginica or Claytonia caroliniana) in past springs that are convenient for you. Any patch is fine – it can be located in the woods, in a grassy area in a nearby park, or even in your backyard! The larger the patch, the better. If you don’t know where to find either of these species of Claytonia in your area, ask around – botanically-minded friends and neighbors will probably know of some good spots, if it occurs in your area. If that doesn’t work, go exploring! Claytonia can be easily found in woods, local parks, and neighborhoods.

You can observe either Claytonia virginica or Claytonia caroliniana. Just be sure to note which you are observing on your data sheet.

2) Collect your materials.

You’ll need the following:

  • Data sheets
  • Printable guide to Claytonia pollinators
  • Printable plant ID guide
  • Printable Field Instructions
  • Something that can define your area of observation. We use a hula hoop, but you could use anything that size or smaller, that can define a boundary between the plants that you’re observing and the plants that you’re not. If you can’t find anything appropriate, construct a small square using dowels and duct tape.
  • A stopwatch
  • A small chair or gardening knee pad to sit or kneel on
  • A clipboard or notepad to write on
  • A thermometer (if possible)
  • A camera (optional)

3) Figure out the time of bloom

Once you find your patch of Claytonia, identify the time of bloom. You can do this by noting the number of stems that have flowers on them, and also by the ratio of buds, flowers, and developing fruits.

4) Take photos

If possible, please take two photos to submit with your data. 1) An up-close photo of a Claytonia flower, and 2) a photo of the patch where you did your observations.