ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION
It is a fleshy, herbaceous annual plant native to the western mountain and coastal regions of North America from southernmost Alaska and central British Columbia south to Central America, but most common in California in the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin valleys. Miner’s lettuce, a close relative to purslane and Talinium triangulare (fruticosum).
USES AND ETHNOBOTANY
The common name miner's lettuce refers to its use by California Gold Rush miners who ate it to prevent scurvy. It can be eaten as a leaf vegetable. Most commonly it is eaten raw in salads, but it is not quite as delicate as other lettuce. Sometimes it is boiled like spinach, which it resembles in taste. Miner's lettuce can sometimes accumulate toxic amounts of soluble oxalates.
PROPAGATION AND CULTIVATION
Miner’s lettuce, a close relative to purslane and Talinium triangulare (fruticosum). Edible and easy to grow from seed. Miner’s lettuce can be found growing wild during the late months of winter and early months of spring around Mt. Tamalpais, where I grew up. Does well with limited sunlight, even in Redwood understory.