Official State Flowers of the United States
Lewisia rediviva - Bitterroot
Lewisia rediviva – Bitterroot
State of Montana Flower
Montana designated bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva) as the official state flower in 1895.
Bitterroot is a small perennial herb in the family Montiaceae. Its specific epithet rediviva (“revived, reborn”) refers to its ability to regenerate from dry and seemingly dead roots.
The plant is native to western North America from low to moderate elevations on grassland, open bushland, forest in dry rocky or gravelly soils.
Lewisia rediviva is a low-growing perennial plant with a fleshy taproot and a simple or branched base. The flower stems are leafless, 1–3 centimetres (0.4–1.2 in) tall, bearing at the tip a whorl of 5–6 linear bracts which are 5–10 mm long. A single flower appears on each stem with 5–9 oval-shaped sepals.They range in color from whitish to deep pink or lavender. Flowering occurs from April through July. The petals (usually about 15) are oblong in shape and are 18–35 millimetres (0.7–1.4 in) long. At maturity, the bitterroot produces egg-shaped capsules with 6–20 nearly round seeds.
The thick roots, coming into season in late spring, can be peeled, boiled, and made into a jelly-like food.
Bitterroot can be found during spring and summer, growing in the sagebrush plains and the foothills of the mountains in western and south central Montana.