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collage of Narrow-leaved Spring Beauty and Northern Spring Beauty

Narrow-leaved Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) vs. Northern Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana)

Updated April 7th, 2024

These two native spring ephemerals are visually similar and easily confused where their ranges overlap. They are easily told apart by leaf shape, and there are some other subtle differences which are less reliable for identification. C. virginica ranges much farther south and west, and ranges farther into sunnier and more upland habitats, whereas C. caroliniana ranges farther north, to higher elevations in the Southern Appalachians, and prefers shadier habitats.

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