Pygmy Bitterroot
Common Names: Alpine Bitterroot, Pursh
Genus: Lewisia
Species: pygmaea
Parts Used: sold in nurseries as a rock garden plant.

Pygmy Bitterroot is a low growing perennial with long, skinny, fat leaves that are about 4 inches long. They look sort of like the leaves of an Allium, or Ornamental Onion. The flower is small and is actually white with dark pink veins running through the petals. This makes it look pink. Its throat is green, and holds a cluster of yellow stamen on green anthers. It grows to be 4 - 6 inches tall and spreads about 8 inches wide.

They bloom in mid-summer then die down after flowering and start growing again in the autumn. They belong to the Portulacaceae family.

Pygmy Bitterroot is only found in the mountains of western North America. They like open, often gravelly, moist to dryish areas in mountains above the tree line.




Field Enterprises Educational Corporation (1996), The World Book Encyclopedia, USA.

"Lewisia pygmaea",, (June 2000).

" Lewisia pymaea",, (June 2000).

Photo credit: M. Aspaker,


World Biomes