Bitterroot was Adopted as the State flower of Montana in 1895

  • Botanical name: Lewisia rediviva and Bitterroot Sand Rose
  • Also called “the resurrection flower”
  • Fun Fact: In 1805, Bitterroot was first discovered by Meriwether Lewis of the historical Lewis and Clark expedition; thus, the genus name of the flower, “Lewisia”

In 1893, after the famous World’s Fair in Chicago, Montana was one of many states that adopted an official flower. With a strong Indian heritage and a name derived from the leader of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Bitterroot was an obvious choice as a state symbol. The Bitterroot has an exquisite pink blossom that grows close to the ground; it’s one of the loveliest, most spectacular wildflowers. Every spring and summer you can find the Bitterroot growing around the base and valleys of mountains of western Montana.

The foliage is succulent and rubbery textured. The low-growing perennial plant has a fleshy taproot and a branched base. The flower stems are leafless, 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 6-9 beautiful oval-shaped sepals. They range in color from whitish to deep pink or rose and the petals (usually about 15) are oblong in shape. The plant grows on gravelly to heavy, usually dry soil, in scablands or foothills areas. It is found on sagebrush plains to the lower mountains.