It’s said that Rooreh (formerly known as “Miners’ Lettuce”) once carpeted the partly shaded environs of Los Angeles, particularly the understory of Coast Live Oak. (According to calscape.org, “The presence of Rooreh is indicative of a healthy oak woodland.”)
This tender and edible annual herb will serve as a seasonal groundcover in your garden, returning each year in greater numbers. In fact, Claytonia perfoliata is such a prolific seeder, we guarantee that your purchase of a single seed packet will be a once-in-a-lifetime event. In fact, within a year or two, you’ll undoubtedly find it popping up literally everywhere in your garden after the first rains of winter, so if that isn’t something you’d like to see, Rooreh isn’t recommended.
Tiny, white flowers emerge from the oddly shaped leaves in spring and the shiny, black seeds that follow are beloved by California Towhees and other ground-feeding birds. As summer approaches, the first hot days will signal the end of Rooreh’s lifecycle, as the tender, succulent plants quickly wilt and die. Consider allowing the lacy, brown web they leave in their wake to remain on the ground as a beautiful, natural mulch and wildlife habitat.
Note: Our Rooreh seeds are a local strain, and produce a relatively delicate and diminutive version of the plant compared to the far bigger and (we think) unpleasantly fleshy, northern variety you’ll likely get with most commercially available seed.