Lewisia cotyledon

Photo and write-up by Bryant today:

Today’s image is of Lewisia cotyledon, and it was taken in the E.H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden here in UBC Botanical Garden. Lewisia cotyledon is a member of the Montiaceae native to northwestern California and southwestern Oregon. There are three scientifically-recognized varieties and many cultivars that have been selected or hybridized.

Lewisia cotyledon is a perennial that grows from a thick taproot and caudex. The fleshy leaves can grow to 9 centimeters long and form a basal rosette from which the stems emerge. The inflorescence occurs atop the stem (usually 10-30 cm tall) and, depending on the variety, can produce up to 50 flowers.

Many species of Lewisia are adapted to growing in extreme alpine conditions, and thus are tolerant of both cold temperatures and periods of drought. However, I would have never guessed they would be capable of this!

Lewisia cotyledon

7 responses to “Lewisia cotyledon”

  1. Karen Newbern

    I have been seeing the cultivars at various plant nurseries this spring. Beautiful plants! Any idea how they would do in clay soil?

  2. Ellen

    I love getting the pix every day and putting them on my desktop at work . A lovely reminder of life outside of the office and Mother Nature’s beauty. Thank you.

  3. Susan Gustavson

    They need impeccable drainage and don’t like water in the summer. I have also read that they don’t want to burn in full sun all day, either. They are queens when in bloom.

  4. Valerie Melanson

    Hello,
    I am always glad to see an alpine plant featured in the Plant of the Day email. I have successfully grown Lewisia cotyledon from seed to flowering stage. It is a plus that there is a variation in colours to brighten up the early spring rock garden.
    You link to a piece on Lewisia rediviva. David Sellars, President of the Alpine Garden Club of B.C., recently wrote a piece on this plant. A great location to find it is apparently on Mount Kobau off Hwy # 3. He notes that on a few km section of the highway, on the section from Hope to Osoyoos, it is possible to see 5 different species of Lewisia. (AGCBC Spring 2012 Bulletin, pp 13-15).
    Best regards,
    Valerie Melanson,
    Qualicum Beach Garden Club Alpine & Rock Garden Special Interest Group

  5. Valerie Melanson

    For germination, I use a mix (half and half) of seed starter mix & course granite grit. Surface sow the seed and water in so the seed gets down amongst the grit. Cold stratification covered in a plastic bag in the fridge for 8 weeks then onto a hot mat under a light and dome. Or, if starting earlier, then cover lightly in grit and put outside under a dome to benefit from winter cold. They sprout as the temperature rises Both have worked for me.
    Further to cultivation, I have them placed in rocky, well drained soil, with part shade.
    The ones with more shade are smaller and slower to flower, those with a bit more sun, come on earlier.
    Valerie Melanson

  6. Vel Rhodes

    Hi,
    I was just on Mount Kobau on June 25th and enjoyed looking at all of the wild flowers! Most of the Lewisia Rediviva were already finished blooming. Here in Port Alberni the winter wet will kill lewisias as they do indeed need super drainage although I know one person who has had very good luck growing them in a raised bed. They are very easy from seed (as Valerie wrote). I grow them in pots and keep them dry in an unheated greenhouse in the winter and put them in semi-shade for the summer where they get regular watering.
    Vel Rhodes

  7. elizabeth a airhart

    lovely flowers -i enjoy reading the comments from your other
    visitors to this site so much to learn and a lot of wish i was there
    debby left my part of florida with a lot of beach erosion out on
    anna maria seista key and tree damage and flooding nasty storm
    thank you daniel and company

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