Bistorta vivipara (L.) S.F. Gray

Alpine Bistort

Habitat: Cool or damp slopes, gravels or wet rock, subalpine and alpine areas. [Alpine or subalpine (non-forested, upland)]

Range: Circumboreal, south to northern Michigan, northern Minnesota, and the higher mountains of New England.

Aids to Identification: This perennial herb grows from a short rhizome to a height of 10-40 cm. There are few leaves along the stem, the lower ones being oblong on long stalks, progressing to smaller, narrower sessile leaves higher up on the stem. The flowers are pale rose or white, and they occur on a solitary, terminal raceme, 3-6 cm long. The flowers may be partly or completely replaced by bulbils, tiny plantlets composed of a small tuft of leaves.

Ecological characteristics: In Maine, this species is known to occur only above treeline on Mount Katahdin.

Phenology: Flowers late June - August.

Family: Polygonaceae

Synonyms: Persicaria vivipara (L.) Decr.; Polygonum viviparum L.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 1 town(s) in the following county(ies): Piscataquis.

Reason(s) for rarity: Disjunct from principal range.

Conservation considerations: Known populations are small and subject to the vagaries of small populations like random fluctuations or localized disturbance events.