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Lewisia rediviva - Pursh.
                 
Common Name Bitter-Root
Family Portulacaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Gravelly to heavy, usually dry soils[60]. Rocky dry soils of valleys, or on foothills, stony slopes, ridges and mountain summits to about 2,500 metres[212].
Range Western N. America - Montana to British Columbia, south to California and Colorado.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Summary

Lewisia rediviva Bitter-Root


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Stan_Shebs
Lewisia rediviva Bitter-Root
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Stan_Shebs
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Lewisia rediviva is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 7-Sep It is in flower in June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
L. alba.

Habitats
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Root.
Edible Uses:

Root - cooked[2, 4, 94, 161]. The root was a staple food of some native North American Indian tribes[257]. It is said to be extremely nutritious, 50 - 80 grams being sufficient to sustain an active person for a day[4, 207]. The root is, however, rather small and tedious to collect in quantity[207]. It is easiest to use when the plant is in flower in the spring, because the outer layer of the root (which is very bitter) slips off easily at this time of the year[85, 95]. Whilst being boiled the roots become soft and swollen and exude a pink mucilaginous substance[183]. The root swells to about 6 times its size and resembles a jelly-like substance[105]. The root has a good taste though a decided bitter flavour develops afterwards[85]. If the root is stored for a year or two the bitterness is somewhat reduced[183]. The root can also be dried, ground into a powder and used as a mush or a thickener in soups etc[212, 257].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Blood purifier;  Cardiac;  Galactogogue;  Poultice.

The root is cardiac and galactogogue[257]. An infusion of the root has been used to increase the milk flow in nursing mothers, to relieve heart pain and the pain of pleurisy and also as a blood purifier[257]. The root has been eaten raw to counteract the effects of poison ivy rash and as a treatment for diabetes[257]. The pounded dry root has been chewed in the treatment of sore throats[257]. A poultice of the raw roots has been applied to sores[257].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Requires a very well-drained gritty humus-rich deep soil in a sunny position[1, 200]. This species is not reliably hardy in Britain. It can withstand consistently very cold weather but does not like alternating periods of mild and cold conditions, nor does it like winter wet[1]. The plant is very susceptible to rotting at the neck in a damp soil[200]. The plant is easy to kill by over-watering but extremely difficult to kill by under-watering. Roots that have been dried and stored for a number of years have been known to come back into growth when moistened[95]. The plant dies down after flowering and re-appears in September. It must be kept dry whilst dormant[129]. It is best grown in a greenhouse or bulb frame[200]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is the state flower of Montana[85, 95]. Very apt to hybridize with other members of this genus[1].
Propagation
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in a very freely draining soil[129]. Sow stored seed as soon as possible in a cold frame. One months cold stratification should improve germination, though this is still likely to be very slow. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in March/April. Very difficult.

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Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Lewisia brachycalyxShortsepal lewisia20
Lewisia columbianaColumbian Bitterroot, Columbian lewisia, Wallowa lewisia20
Lewisia pygmaeaPigmy Bitterroot, Alpine lewisia20
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Expert comment
 
Author
Pursh.
Botanical References
60200270
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Libby Hyde Thu Mar 4 06:01:56 2004
Is bitteroot used for making furniture or other such type crafts?
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Subject : Lewisia rediviva  

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