Cistanthe tweedyi

The series on narrow-range endemics of the Pacific Northwest of North America continues today. The first photograph in today’s entry is mine, while Keith Reher has kindly supplied the other two (thank you, Keith). Keith included the following comments:

“Attached are two images that I captured on June 1, 2008 near Peshastin, Washington. I have found Tweedy’s lewisia in Chelan County near Leavenworth and Peshastin, and I have read that an outlier population can be found in Manning Provincial Park, BC, but I have never been there during flowering season. Tweedy’s lewisias in Chelan County show a broad range of flower coloration, from the most common –yellow with pink tips — to pure white, pure yellow, and ivory with green central striping. The plant prefers exposed rocky soil or talus, but I have found them growing on shaded rock outcrops, deep in fir forests.”

My photograph is from an outlier population in Manning. Between Keith’s and my photographs, most of the entire distribution of Cistanthe tweedyi is covered — see the distribution map via the Flora of North America entry on Cistanthe tweedyi.

Many older references to this species will use the name Lewisia tweedyi, but a reclassification in 1990 moved this taxon out of Lewisia and into the genus Cistanthe. Will the name settle? Perhaps not quite yet; the Flora of North America states in its entry on Cistanthe: “The inclusion of Cistanthe tweedyi appears to be somewhat equivocal and it might best be treated as a distinct genus.”

Paghat has an excellent entry on Cistanthe tweedyi, though it is under the now-rejected Lewisia tweedyi. Note also that other common names are used: Pagaht uses Tweedy’s bitterroot while the USDA PLANTS database uses Tweedy’s pussypaws.

Cistanthe tweedyi
Cistanthe tweedyi
Cistanthe tweedyi

12 responses to “Cistanthe tweedyi”

  1. Vicki

    Back in the 1960’s, under the tutelage of Dr. C. Leo Hitchcock, I was formally introduced to this beauty. Well, actually, before that my parents must have tried 20 times to relocate the plant to their home in the lowlands of Western Washington. They never managed to do that. I was mortified when I came to realize the reverence Dr. Hitchcock had for Lewisia tweedyi.
    Thank you for reminding me of a dear friend!!!

  2. Gary Schneider

    Fine images! These are one of my favorites…and they do well here in Anchorage, AK. Lewisia pygmaea is bullet proof here and is also a beautiful plant but more of a ground hugger/cover. Birds love the seeds of both. Wish I was intelligent enough to post pictures..all mine end up as little boxes with red x’s within.

  3. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    Another luscious beauty! It’s very interesting, to think of these narrow-range plants, who are so particular about where they plant their feet.
    I’m imagining an intoxicating, sweet-citrusy scent, but perhaps that’s just fantasy.
    And speaking of feet… as a cat-lover (and co-caretaker of three delightful grey tabby-cats), I would most surely take “Tweedy’s pussypaws” over any other names, any day.

  4. phillip

    Rats…i thought i was gonna se “tweedy” bird…er i mean Tweety bird…anyways great

  5. Suzi

    can anyone tell me what time of the year these flowers bloom in Manning park?
    they are beautiful 🙂

  6. Daniel Mosquin

    Suzi, my photo was taken on June 15 this year.
    Most people see the plant on the Mt. Frosty hike — this is an account of the hike in mid-June, for your reference.

  7. Betty Bahn

    I have grown C. tweedyii for over 20 years in a trough, with it blooming every year. This trough has traveled along with me from Tacoma, WA. to Bend,OR, to home in Yachats, OR. It is the most special plant I grow.

  8. cambree

    What cute little flowers! They remind me of Kalanchoe a bit, but these are beautiful in a class of their own.

  9. Elena

    Tweedy’s lewisia is one of my favorite plants, have often taken walks just to see it.One note for anyone interested in growing it, the roots rot if the soil is too moist, people I know who’ve been successful growing it in Western Washington State use a sandy/gravelly soil mix, and either plant under the eaves or in a pot so they can control the fall/winter/spring onslaught of moisture.

  10. van

    That last is just a gorgeous photograph. What a beautiful clump of plants.

  11. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    I agree… in the last photo the flowers seem to glow, to emit light from their centres.

  12. Michael Tweed

    This plant is named after me, of course.

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