Heuchera grossulariifolia “Gooseberry Alumroot” Saxifragaceae

Weir Hot Springs, Clearwater National Forest, ID
June 8, 2015
Robert Niese

These lovely Saxifrags are endemic to the PNW (southwest Montana to the southern Cascades) where they can be found on well-drained, somewhat shady slopes and cliff-faces. In many parts of its range, two distinct populations of H. grossulariifolia occur side-by-side, and may be evolving into separate species. Due to an accidental duplication of its genome, tetraploid populations of H. grossulariifolia bloom earlier and grow larger than their diploid counterparts, and hybrids between the two populations have low fertility. This suggests that the two populations may be genetically isolated enough to become separate species in the future.

Mitella (Ozomelis) stauropetala “Smallflower Miterwort” Saxifragaceae

Lolo National Forest, Bitterroot Mountains, MT
May 10, 2015
Robert Niese

Chiefly found east of the Cascades, the Smallflower Miterwort is a common resident of moist, dense forests of the Pacific Northwest. Up to 35 flowers grow on leafless stems from a rosette of palmately lobed leaves.