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!
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.