Bitterroot in flower and bud on a ridge near Sweathouse Creek in the Bitterroot Mountains, Montana USA.

The color of the Bitterroot flower ranges from white to pink, even a deep rose. It often has four or more branches and only one flower to each leafless stem. Each flower is about two inches across with 6 to 9 oval sepals; 10 to 19 oblong petals, and 30 to 70 stamens.

The low growing perennial has fleshy, one to two inch leaves that appear in early spring, soon after the snow melts and before it blooms. The narrow, red-green leaves form a basal rosette. The leaves may be present when it flowers but usually they are not. During flowering the leaves are withering and drying and by the end of June, the leaves are gone.

When mature the Bitterroot flower produces egg-shaped capsules which contain 6-20 nearly round seeds that mice love to eat.

It is common in western Montana.

The bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), one of the most beautiful wildflowers, is the state flower of Montana. Lewis and Clark are credited with discovering the bitterroot but Native Americans, who knew it as spetlum, were using its roots for food and trade long before Lewis and Clark appeared. As an important part of their diet, they timed their spring migrations with the emergence of the Bitterroots leaves. Tribes dug up the roots before the plant flowered and dried them so they could be kept and used for months. Unless cooked, the root was too bitter to eat. When boiled, it was mixed with berries or meat and could be made into patties that kept and carried well.
Canon EOS 40D, 1/800s, f/8.0, ISO: 400 300 mm
Cannon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM lens

2010

Tags

bitterroot, nature, pink, wildflower

Comments

  • Rita  H. Ireland
    Rita H. Irelandover 4 years ago

    very lovely shot!

  • Vickie Emms
    Vickie Emmsover 4 years ago

    this is a fabulous shot, and well written description

  • amontanaview
    amontanaviewover 4 years ago

    Rita and Vickie. Thank you so much! I am new to this site and forum and your words are very encouraging.

  • Digitalbcon
    Digitalbconover 4 years ago


    Congratulations Merle!!!

  • Alexa Pereira
    Alexa Pereiraover 4 years ago

    Beautiful image with wonderful colours and detail
    Alexa

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkeabout 4 years ago

  • GiselaSchneider
    GiselaSchneideralmost 4 years ago

    wonderful capture Merle, the dark back ground just makes the pink pop and beautifully composed !!

  • GiselaSchneider
    GiselaSchneideralmost 4 years ago

  • Vickie Emms
    Vickie Emmsalmost 3 years ago

  • Wow, nice surprise! Thank you.

    – amontanaview

  • Bryan D. Spellman
    Bryan D. Spellmanalmost 3 years ago

    Beautiful, Merle. I’m always amazed when I find a Bitterroot in bloom. You’ve captured these perfectly.

  • Thank you Bryan. I have been busy and am now catching up. Thanks for your support and comments.

    – amontanaview

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