Born Again

Lewisia rediviva growing in a rocky, volcanic substrate at the Northern Great Basin Experimental Range near Riley, OR.

Lewisia rediviva growing in a rocky, volcanic substrate at the Northern Great Basin Experimental Range near Riley, OR.

I have been waiting for bitter root (Lewisia redivia) to bloom for weeks now, and I was rewarded during recent stroll near my research plots. The name “Lewisia” comes from Merriweather Lewis, who first described the plant; “rediviva” is apt, because this plant survives as a dormant root for long periods of time. In fact, the original herbarium specimen was resurrected some years after it was set, and grown in Philadelphia.

The leaves of bitter root emerge in response to cool-season precipitation in the interior Northwest, and they wither away before the flowers bloom.

The leaves of bitter root emerge in response to cool-season precipitation in the interior Northwest, and they wither away before the flowers bloom.

A view of the population.

A view of the population.

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About prairiebotanist

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