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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Three-leaf Bitterroot - Lewisia triphylla

Native Species

Global Rank: G4?
State Rank: S4
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Numerous recent collections from secure habitats. Possibly undercollected.
General Description
Roots a globose corm 5–15 mm across. Stems 1 to many, ascending, 2–6 cm. Basal leaf blades linear, 1–6 cm long, absent at flowering. Stem leaves opposite or whorled, linear, 1–4 cm long. Flowers in bracteate cymes; sepals 2, 2–5 mm long with entire margins; petals 5 to 9, white to pink, 5–7 mm long; stamens 5; style branches 3 to 5 (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Possibly confused with early-season Montia linearis or M. dichotoma, which occur in lowlands and are not known in Montana.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Western MT east to Park County; WA to MT south to CA and CO (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 4

(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)

Seepy and seasonally moist sites, usually where sandy or gravelly, rarely on finer soils. Mostly occurs in high-montane and subalpine habitats.

  • 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.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Three-leaf Bitterroot"
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Citation for data on this website:
Three-leaf Bitterroot — Lewisia triphylla.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from