WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Often forming dense colonies in wet, mountain meadows, Bistort’s 7–16-inch tall stems are topped with a dense, cylindrical spike of small, white to pale pink flowers. Note the reddish stems and the elliptic, pointed basal leaves on long stems.


FLOWER: July–September. Erect stems with spikes 3/4–1 1/2-inches long (2–4 cm), densely packed with white to pinkish flowers with 3/16-inch long (5 mm) petal-like tepals, stamens protrude beyond the flower; fruit a shiny brown seed 1/8-inch long (not  bulblets on the spike as in B. vivipera).


LEAVES: Basal and alternate on stem. Mostly basal with stems (petioles) 1–2 3/4-inches long (3–7 cm). Blades elliptic to lance-shaped, 2–10-inches long (5–25 cm), surfaces hairless, margins entire, tip usually pointed.


HABITAT: Moist gravelly, loam, alluvial soils, bogs, marshes, meadows; ponderosa, spruce-fir forests, subalpine and alpine meadows, tundra.


ELEVATION: 7,000–12,500 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CA, CO, UT; widespread in Rocky Mts. and westward.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Alpine Bistort, B. vivipera, in similar habitats, forms bulblets below the flowers on the spike and rarely produces seeds.


NM COUNTIES: Northern and western NM mountains in high-elevation, wet habitats: Catron, Cibola, Colfax, Grant, Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Socorro, Taos.

AMERICAN  BISTORT

BISTORTA  BISTORTOIDES

Buckwheat Family, Polygonaceae

Perennial herb

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Stem leaf.

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