Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Resurrection Flower - Montana's Bitterroot Wildflower

The bitterroot has been a Montana icon for centuries. Also know as the "resurrection flower," the plant is legendary for its ability to live for more than a year without water. The bitterroot is low-growing perennial with a fleshy taproot and a branched base. The stem of the bitterroot is so short that the flower seems almost to sit on the ground. Each plant has a single flower ranging in color from white to a deep pink or rose. The leaves die off when the flower blooms, leaving the appearance of a flower emerging directly from the soil. For that cause, the plant is also called the rockrose.

Meridampher Lewis collected the bitterroot on the famous Lewis and Clark expedition. The bitterroot blooms in May and June. The bitterroot was an important part of the diet of Montana Indians. Many Montana tribes--including the flathead, Spokane, Nez Perce, Kalispell and Pend d'Oreille--timed their spring migration with the blooming of the bitterroot. The roots were gathered near what is now Missoula. After being cleaned and dried, the roots were a nutritious, lightweight snack.

The roots were cooked before eating and usually mixed with meat or berries. Cakes of the cooked root could be vehicleried and eaten while traveling. The roots of the bitterroot plant were considered a luxury and could be traded with other Indian tribes as well as with pioneers and trappers. A sack of the valuable prepared roots could be traded for a horse!

The bitterroot became Montana's state flower by popular vote in 1895. The bitterroot has lent its name to a mountain range, a river and the famous Bitterroot Vlane. Each year in Montana a two-day annual bitterroot festival brings place in the Bitterroot Vlane to celebrate the versatile bitterroot plant.

Article Source: http://Education.50806.com/

Author By Kathleen Karlsen

Orignal From: The Resurrection Flower - Montana's Bitterroot Wildflower

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