The last milestone before BPotD’s one year anniversary, this is entry number three hundred. This photograph was taken in late May of 2004 at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden, where I had a highly enjoyable visit (and so should you if you are ever in Edmonton).
An alpine plant native to western North America, pygmy bitterroot is found at elevations of 2300m to 4200m in the mountains stretching from California north to British Columbia, with disjunct populations in Yukon and (in some references) Alaska (distribution map). In the book The Genus Lewisia, Brian Mathew comments that “this species presents us with perhaps one of the most tricky taxonomic problems in the genus Lewisia for it is extremely widespread and variable and there is apparent pattern to the variation”. Mathew goes on to describe a half-dozen geographic variants, generally at the southern extreme of its range. Some of these variants are reflected in the Flora of North America description for the species.