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Lewisia rediviva (Bitter root)
Glase, Terry

Lewisia rediviva

Lewisia rediviva Pursh

Bitter Root, Oregon Bitter-root

Portulacaceae (Purslane Family)


USDA Symbol: LERE7

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

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 Lewisia, 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.


From the Image Gallery

73 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


USA: 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

Growing Conditions

Light 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.


Use Food: Taproots consumed by indigenous peoples.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: 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.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Lewisia rediviva in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lewisia rediviva in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lewisia rediviva


Record Modified: 2023-02-16
Research By: TWC Staff

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