A native perennial found in Southwestern Oregon and Northern California, Siskiyou lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon) is a member of the Purselane Family. There are three varieties of Siskiyou lewisia, distinguished by their leaf margins. This variety with entire leaf margins, photographed along the Sacramento River near the Dunsmuir Botanical Garden in Siskiyou County CA, is “cotyledon”.
Siskiyou lewisia grows on rocky ledges, cliffs and in crevices in ponderosa pine and red fir forests between 4,000 and 7,500 feet.
Siskiyou lewisia has a carrot-like taproot. The spoon-shaped succulent leaves form a dense basal tuft. There are several branched stems with terminal flowers. The stems are essentially leafless, with the few cauline leaves being bractlike. Siskiyou lewisia flowers have 5 to 10 white to pink petals with a red tinge or stripe. There are 5 to 8 stamens and 2 sepals. The fruit is a capsule containing shiny black seeds.
Another common name for Siskiyou lewisia is cliff maids.
The genus, Lewisia, honors Captain Merriwether Lewis of the 1806/1807 Lewis and Clark Expedition.