Common Names bitterroot, bitter root
Flower Color White/Purple
Plant Type Herb
Native Americans used the root of bitter root (Lewisia rediviva) for food. It became famous following the Lewis and Clark expedition and was the source of the name of the Bitterroot Mountains in Idaho and the Bitterroot Valley and Bitterroot River in Montana. The plants flower from bare rocky soil with no leaves, then follow their showy flowering with inconspicuous leaves to recharge the plant for the year. These bitter root flowers are growing in the seemingly hostile volcanic rock of Jordan Craters, the gravely shoulders of the passes in the Honeycombs of Malheur County (oregon), and gravely soil at other locations. It is a member of the Purslane family.