Bistorta vivipara (Alpine Bistort) - photos and description

Flowers on top half of flower spike are sterile.

Reddish-coloured bulblets grow beneath flowers on lower half of flower stem.

General: Upright perennial whose leaves are mostly basal. Plants glabrous. Reproduces by bulblets growing on the flower stem beneath each spike of flowers.

Flowers: Flowers grow on cylindrical spikes, the flower stems erect to spreading. The top half of flowering spikes with white flowers at 2 mm long. Flowers are sterile. The bottom half of flowering spikes with bulblets, the bulblets fall to the ground and grow into new plants. Bulblets reddish in colour, measured at 2 mm long.

Leaves: Leaves mostly basal, the few leaves on flowering stems are alternate. Petioles about as long as the leaf blades. Blades linear with a sharp apex and a rounded base. Margins entire. The longest blade measured at 10.5 cm long by 15 mm wide.

Height: Budd's Flora lists the height to 25 cm, we measured plants to 30 cm tall.

Habitat: Mossy, wet black spruce woods in the boreal forest. 

Abundance: Rare, ranked as an S3 (as of 2021) by the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre.

Origin: Native.

Synonym: Listed in some of the guides we use as Polygonum viviparum.

When and where photographed: Photos taken June 11th, 15th, and 16th in our garden of our home of Regina, SK.