Columbian Bitterroot (Lewisia columbiana)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Columbian Bitterroot
Lewisia columbiana
Portulacaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Root – cooked[257]. Said to be extremely nutritious. It is easiest to use when the plant is in flower because the outer layer of the root (which is very bitter) slips off easily at this time of the year. The root has a good taste though a decided bitter flavour develops afterwards[105, 161].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

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.
Requires a very well-drained gritty humus-rich deep soil in a sunny position[1, 200]. Prefers a neutral to acid soil and a position in semi-shade[188]. Best if given a north or north-east aspect in order to protect it from the midday sun[200]. Thrives on almost bare rock[1]. It might be worthwhile trying this species in a crevice of a sunny drystone wall[219]. This species prefers a moister soil than most members of the genus[188]. 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]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is very apt to hybridize with other members of the genus[1].
Western N. America – South British Columbia to California..

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.