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Gathering Bitterroot

There are approximately 60 - 70 different species of plants including bitterroot

The root of the Bitterroot plant

Dry sagebrush areas where bitterroot can be found

Bitterroot is found in areas among sagebrush or ponderosa pines, from British Columbia to southern California; east to Colorado, and Montana (where it is the state flower)

Bitterroot flower

A low lying plant with comparatively large pink to nearly white flowers that bloom on short stalks. The flowers are 1.5-2.5 in (3.8-6.3 cm) wide, with leaves 0.5-2 in (1.3-5 cm) long and height of 0.5-2 in (1.3-5 cm).

The root of the Bitterroot plant is used as a traditional source of food. The roots were peeled and cooked or dried for winter use. Bitterroot is was considered a valuable plant and it figured prominently in trade. Shown here are community elders passing on their traditional knowledge of Bitterroot harvesting to the youth.

A good harvest of Bitteroot
Passing of knowledge from elder to youth
Youth showing harvesting Bitterroot
Elders passing on traditional knowledge