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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Lewisia rediviva Pursh
Bitter root, Oregon bitter-root
USDA Symbol: LERE7
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
A low, little plant with comparatively big, deep pink to nearly white flowers that bloom on short stalks, nearly within a rosette of narrow succulent leaves. During mid-summer, Oregon bitter-root is dormant. In late summer the stout taproot bears a low rosette of cylindrical, succulent leaves which remain green over winter and disappear after the plant has flowered. As snows recede, one-several showy flowers are borne on low stems. The flowers are the largest of the genus, (up to 2 in. across), with numerous white to rose petals surrounding a cluster of stamens.
Of the several pretty species of ground-hugging Lewisias, this one is the Montana state flower and perhaps the most showy. It was first collected by Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition, who is honored by the genus name.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY Canada: AB
, BC Native Distribution:
E. of the Cascades from s.e. B.C. to n. CA, e. to the mts. of MT, CO & n. AZ Native Habitat:
Rocky or gravelly, wooded or brushy slopes USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Description:
Loose rocks. Conditions Comments:
Bitter root is difficult to grow. It must have perfect
drainage as the taproot
is easily rotted. Moisture is needed while flowering, but a period of dry dormancy is necessary after seeding. In cultivation, this wildflower does best in rock gardens.
BenefitUse Food: Taproots consumed by indigenous peoples.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Propagate by seed or division. Sow outdoors in late fall (maximum temperature must be less than 50 degrees); or enclose in plastic bag with moist peat or vermiculite and refrigerate for 3-4 months. Remove and pot germinating seeds bi-weekly. Germinatio Seed Collection:
The mature fruit
is a papery capsule
with many tiny, black, shiny seeds. Seed Treatment:
Not Available Commercially Avail:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
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Record Modified: 2008-10-19
Research By: TWC Staff