Montana Outdoors

June 1, 2011

Lewisia rediviva

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 10:15 pm

In western Montana a blue-ribbon trout stream (well, it used to be) flows south to north through three quarters of a beautiful hundred mile long valley to its confluence with the Clark Fork of the Columbia river. Bordering the valley to the west is a 24,223 square mile range of mountains, anchored by 10,157 foot high Trapper Peak, that also forms most of the north/south border between Idaho and Montana.

The river, the valley, and the mountain range are all named after a small pink flower, the state flower of Montana, the Bitterroot.






  1. Nice stopping by this evening and finding some bitterroot.

    By the way, don’t know if you’ve heard about the Nature Conservancy photo contest. I have the link to it posted on my Facebook page; Elizabeth Grace commented that it seemed perfect for you. She’s right. Here’s the link:



    Comment by knightofswords — June 1, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

  2. Gorgoues Terry – those are beautiful – and yes! Enter that contest!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — June 1, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

    • They are not all that plentiful in this area any more, and I was lucky to find these today. The blossoms open only on sunny days and today was overcast and rainy, but they opened part way. It’s not the traditional photo of them, but they are pretty any way.


      Comment by montucky — June 1, 2011 @ 10:52 pm

  3. That is a unique plant–and one that I have never heard of before. It sure has a pretty flower.


    Comment by kateri — June 1, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

    • It’s native to the ten western-most states and two Canadian provinces. The scientific name <Lewisia came from Meriwether Lewis, who collected it in 1806. Months later his dried specimen still showed signs of life and promptly grew when planted, hence the rediviva meaning “restored to life”.


      Comment by montucky — June 1, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

  4. Beautiful captures. I love the first photo, and what it resembled to me on first impression is that this looked like it was within the sea—something like a flower in the coral in the sea. 🙂


    Comment by Anna — June 2, 2011 @ 7:01 am

    • That’s almost exactly what my wife said when she saw it! It is a coral color, isn’t it!


      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  5. These are beautiful! Especially love the ones that are not quite yet bloomed!


    Comment by Marcie — June 2, 2011 @ 7:13 am

    • I love the bitterroots. The plant itself is so small that when the flowers bloom it seems that they appear out of nowhere.


      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  6. The Bitterroot Range! I didn’t know it was named after a flower… good to know & thank you for teaching me something new today!!! =)


    Comment by Tricia — June 2, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    • This was a very important plant to the Indians, especially the Salish, and even today they consider it very important in maintaining their cultural identity. Early in May many from the tribe spent a whole day digging bitterroots and having their annual feast of them.


      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  7. Such a beautiful flower. I love the name of this flower. You should indeed enter this into the contest the folks are talking about.


    Comment by Preston — June 2, 2011 @ 9:25 am

    • The name is apt: the roots have a very bitter taste. The flowers remind me of sactus flowers too.


      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

  8. Hi Montucky, Nice pictures of the wildflowers. You have a real knack for getting the good shots! I miss trout fishing. I used to live in Sacramento, CA way back in the 1970’s and 1980’s and the Rainbow Trout fishing and Steelhead fishing in the lower American River was surprisingly good. I want to learn to fly fish and go to the Smokey Mountains to do some catch and release trout fishing. Have a great day today!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — June 2, 2011 @ 11:28 am

    • I’m anxiously waiting for the high water to pass so I can go fishing again. There are several streams near that produce nice small trout and I can simply walk down to the river here in the evening to try for some large ones. When I catch one around 20 inches or larger, we cook it on the barbeque in a special way and it’s superb!


      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  9. I love the flower, the story, and the name!


    Comment by sandy — June 2, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    • It was an important plant in these parts until recently, although to the folks on the Flathead Reservation it is still very important.


      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

  10. It is truly a blooming root isn’t it? Lovely!


    Comment by kcjewel — June 2, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

    • There isn’t much plant to it. Its leaves are small and remind me of a type of ice-plant.


      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

  11. Bitterroot, are they always they beautiful lavender-pink color? A little flower to have so much named after it.


    Comment by Candace — June 2, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    • Yes, these are their colors. Most of the photos of them that I see published are taken on sunny days when they are open wide, and I shall have to try to get back to them on the next sunny day for a few of those shots.


      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

  12. Thank You presenting Bitterroot. It is beautiful indeed. Never heard about it or seen.


    Comment by sartenada — June 2, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

  13. Wow. Looks like a cross between a crocus and a opuntia flower. Very lovely.


    Comment by Tammy — June 3, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

    • Yes, I think it’s lovely too. They grow in dry, rocky areas where they get a lot of sun and the color can be seen at quite a distance.


      Comment by montucky — June 3, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

  14. I LOVE the 4th image! Folks wanting to see bitterroot flowers should drive the 17 mile wildlife loop drive at the Bison Range in Moise, also on the Flathead Reservation. When the road tops out along the ridge, you can see them along the trail to a lookout point.


    Comment by Kim — June 4, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    • I took that drive about two weeks ago but they were not blooming there yet. Today I returned to Camas Prairie and got a dozen shots of the Bitterroots in the sun when they were completely open. That was very enjoyable!


      Comment by montucky — June 4, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

  15. Lovely images. The first is my favorite. The blossom is beautifully framed by the foliage and the water droplets are a wonderful addition!


    Comment by Victoria — June 13, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

    • I have some photos taken on a sunny day when these were open that I’ll post some time. They are gorgeous blossoms!


      Comment by montucky — June 13, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

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