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31. Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva) and Pygmy Bitterroot (Lewisia pygmaea)
Collected: 1806 Jul 1 - Traveler's Rest Camp, Lolo Creek, Missoula County, Montana
Bitterroot
Bitterroot
Photographer: Victor Soukup
 
Bitterroot
Bitterroot
Photographer: Victor Soukup
Pygmy Bitterroot
Pygmy Bitterroot
Photographer: Victor Soukup
Pygmy Bitterroot
Pygmy Bitterroot
Photographer: Victor Soukup
 
Bitterroot
Bitterroot
Photographer: Victor Soukup

Description: "another speceis [sic] was much mutilated but appeared to be fibrous; the parts were brittle, hard, of the size of a small quill, cilindric [sic] and as white as snow throughout, except some small parts of the hard black rind which they had not seperated [sic] in the preperation. This the indians with me informed were always boiled for use. I made the exp[e]riment, found that they became perfectly soft by boiling, but had a very bitter taste, which was naucious to my pallate, and I transferred them to the Indians who had eat them heartily." [Lewis.] (Phillips. 2003. p. 178. Thwaites. 1904. Vol. 3, Part 1, p. 13.)

Journal Entry 1806 Jul 1: "…We had now made one hundred and fifty-six miles from the Quamash flats, to the mouth of Traveller's-rest creek. This being the point where we proposed to separate, it was resolved to remain a day or two in order to refresh ourselves, and the horses, which have bore the journey extremely well, and are still in fine order, but require some little rest." (Lewis. 1814. Vol. 2, p. 330.)

Notes: One of several plants named for Meriwether Lewis, the Bitterroot is the Montana State Flower and lends its name to at least eight geographical features, most notably the Bitterroot Mountains and Bitterroot River in western Montana. It received the name rediviva from its supposed ability to revive from a dried state.