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Bitterroot plant - Lewisia rediviva  RSS feed

 
master steward
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This plant grows at the top of our volcano at base camp! It's a fascinating little thing.

Bitterroot - Lewisia rediviva
Montana's state flower

I have a picture of it blooming here, somewhere in my digital records, though I can't find it right now, darn it. Here's a picture from http://fwp.mt.gov/education/youth/lewisAndClark/plants/bitterroot.html:


Also from the Fish, Wildlife & Parks link above:

Bitterroot is a cool-season, perennial forb in the purslane family (Portulacaceae). It seldom reaches more than two inches in height but has a thick, often branching taproot that can be over 12 inches long. Bitterroot has a short caudex with densely clustered, succulent leaves, one to two inches long, at the caudex crown. The plants appear in the spring on dry grasslands and sagebrush slopes as dense, green rosettes of fleshy leaves (a characteristic of the purslane family) that dwindle as buds appear, and are dried up and gone when the flowers open. The blooms are unmistakable and appear as bright spots of color on the typically dry and rocky soil. Opening only under direct sunlight, they vary from pale to intense pink, but are occasionally white. The flowers remain open for only two to three days and are pollinated by insects, usually native bees.



TIL two things:  that it's the state flower where I live (I know, I should have known that!) and in the purslane family!

Here are two more links about it:
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=PDPOR040D0
https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/lewisia_rediviva.shtml

It was a highly valued food of the native people. What else do you know about bitterroot? Or, do you have your own pictures?



 
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Also another link, to its page on Montana Plant Life .
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Abe Coley wrote:Also another link, to its page on Montana Plant Life .



Ah, awesome, thanks! I do like that page's distribution description:

On gravelly to heavy, usually dry soil, often in scabland or rimrock, from the sagebrush plains to the lower mountains, in w. and s.c. parts of MT. Also from B.C. southward, on the e. side of the Cascades, to s. CA, CO and AZ.


It is quite remarkable how it grows on rock.

 
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