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Lewisia columbiana

Lewisia columbiana

I get another break today, thanks to Eric La Fountaine and Brent Hine of UBC Botanical Garden. Eric's both the photographer and the writer behind today's entry – thank you!

Eric writes:

Lewisia columbiana (Flora of North America) is found on rocky slopes and crevices in British Columbia and the northwestern contiguous United States. Its thick fleshy leaves and taproot help it withstand dry conditions. It is a small plant — the clumps of a dozen or so plants in the photos are each only around 10 cm across. The small, brightly coloured pinkish flowers attract attention in late spring and summer.

The leaves of this accession collected by Brent Hine, curator of the E.H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden, have an appealing purple tinge, perhaps more prominent than usual due to being found at a high altitude. Brent reminisces about the collection, “There is really nothing quite like the experience of happening upon a plant where you didn't expect it to be. In 2001, I was hiking on Mt. Cokely of southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I was among north-facing rock sheets wet with melting snow, small tufts of Vaccinium and other local mountain vegetation clinging to the raw landscape. This was the last kind of plant on my mind, yet suddenly there it was, and I recognized it immediately with a double take! A gratifying personal discovery which was the peak of that day's experiences. The plant in the image has in cultivation retained all of its rosy-cheeked, hunkered-down character just as I found it that day.”

Lewisia columbiana is grown in gardens and has been used for hybridizing Lewisia cultivars. Paghat discusses the merits of the species for Northwest gardens in her article on Columbian bitterroot. Although the outer layer of the root is very bitter (hence the plant's common name), the peeled root was a food source and traded item of early peoples in the region.

8 Comments

Lewisia columbiana - Z5 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths
Lewisia columbiana - Z6-7 - A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk
Lewisia loo-is-ee-a After Captain Meriwether Lewis [1774-1809] of the Lewis and Clark expedition 1806-7. columbiana ko-lum-bee-ah-na. Of British Columbia. W N America. Dictionary of Plant Names, Coombes

Absolutely hilarious. Looks like a bad piece of yeacch modern art. Oscar Wilde always turns out to be right at least in that life or nature rather does imitate art.
The contrast of textures is fabulous and the two contrasting snake orgies of the two plant glomeruli spiffy.

Thanks to Brent and Eric for their contributions to our wider understanding of the fantastic world of plants. There appear to be two clumps of Lewisia columbiana with slightly different colouration in the photo. Brent: did you collect two specimens?

is this photo taken in the botanical garden?

I took photos of the planters this summer and had to delete them. if anybody has some pics i would love to have them

thx

thank you for another new plant
and for the discovey storey

i have been over to the bitter root page
a goodly amount of reading i had not read
about monkhoods for a long time or the tales

thank you all again hope your pictures are found

A beautiful and fascinating composition of color, shape and texture. Thank you.

It is truely amazing that a plant that small grows out of rocks. I so much enjoyed reading about it. It seem understantable that it is succlent with a tape root.
This is a very nice Photograph.
Thank you,
Margaret-Rae

Knox, I did collect two specimens. You have a discerning eye to notice that, as they are markedly different in coloration. I also understand Alexander's comment about "yeachh modern art". However, they become quite another entity when their June flowers arrive - wonderful!

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