The scientific name for the Virginia spring beauty, a flowering plant native to eastern North America, is Claytonia virginica, a designation honoring the colonial-era Virginia county clerk and botanist, John Clayton. By 1735 Clayton had begun sending dried plant specimens to John Frederick Gronovius, a botanist of Leiden, in the Netherlands. Initially Clayton asked Gronovius to identify the plants he sent, but Clayton soon began making his own identifications. Gronovius shared Clayton's specimens with Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist who developed the modern system of binomial nomenclature. In 1737 Linnaeus named the genus Claytonia, wildflowers of the Portulacaceae family, after the Virginian.