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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Columbia Lewisia - Lewisia columbiana

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4G5
State Rank: S1S2
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: Medium - Low

Agency Status
USFS: Sensitive - Known in Forests (BD)


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare and peripheral in Montana, where it is known from only one location in the Bitterroot Mountains. Its relatively inaccessible habitat reduces the potential for negative impacts.
General Description
Columbia lewisia is a succulent, glabrous perennial with several leafless stems, 5-15 cm (2-6 in) high, from a fleshy, unbranched rootcrown. Strap-shaped basal leaves are up to 4 cm (1 in) long. Stems have small leaf-like bracts with entire or toothed margins. Flowers are borne on short stalks subtended by a small gland-toothed bract in a branched, open inflorescence. Each flower has 2 glandular-toothed sepals, 1-2 mm long; 7-9 pinkish petals, 5-8 mm long; and 5-6 stamens. The fruit is a globose capsule, ca. 3 mm high, with 1-5 shiny black seeds. Our plants are variety wallowensis C.L. Hitchc.

Flowering in June-July.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Lewisia columbiana is our only member of the Portulacaceae with gland-toothed bracts in the inflorescence.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Endemic to central ID and adjacent OR and one canyon in Ravalli County (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 11

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Moist rock crevices in granite along streams in the foothill and montane zones.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

Threats or Limiting Factors
Reported threats to Montana’s populations of Columbia Lewisia are due to recreation activity where hiking trails are in the vicinity of the only known populations (MTNHP Threat Assessment 2021). The entire population is exposed to slight to moderately severe negative impacts.

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
    • Lorain, C. C. 1988. Floristic history and distribution of coastal disjunct plants of the northern Rocky Mountains. M.S. thesis. College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Range Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow. 221 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Columbia Lewisia — Lewisia columbiana.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from