Bitterroot (lewisia rediviva) is more commonly found in eastern Wahington, Eastern Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, but can also be found in a couple of pockets in British Columbia. In this area, there are a few spots between Ashcroft and Spences Bridge and a few spots south of Summerland. It blooms at the end of May with flowers emerging above the soil before any leaves appear.
The root is edible, although it has a bitter taste. First Nations people dug it up, cleaned and peeled it, and dried it for winter use. It is a member of the purslane family, related to spring beauties, montia, and fame flower.
We know that it blooms on Elephant Hill in the park above Aschcroft, so we hike there during the bloom season. The actual bloom site is only about 100m x 50m on a dry hillside.
It would be easy to hike right past these beauties. We hope to return to this spot for our spring pilgrimage each year, but we also are looking for other spots where the bitterroot can be found.