Greens, Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia)
The first fresh salads of the year come from this mild and juicy wild edible. The crisp texture and mild buttery flavor have made it popular in Europe, but Miner's Lettuce is a true California native. In the wild, it sprouts with the fall rains, so plant in fall, winter, or early spring while soil is cool. The first warm days--even in January--will quickly bring on a rosette of spade-shaped leaves on crisp juicy stems. The flower stalks that follow have amazing round leaves like a cup or cone all around the stem. Leaves, stems, and flowers are all edible and choice, though quality falls after the flowers open. Tolerant of serpentine soils, salt, and clay, but not heat. Grows best in rich soil in part shade. The shiny black seeds are a favorite food of California Quail.