Taproots gradually ramified distally. Stems semiprostrate to suberect, 3-8 cm. Leaves: basal leaves withering at or immediately following anthesis, ± sessile or tapered to broad petiole, blade oblanceolate, ± flattened, 3-8 cm, margins entire, apex acute to obtuse; cauline leaves absent. Inflorescences: flowers borne singly on peduncles; bracts 2, ovate to broadly lanceolate, 5-7 mm, margins entire, apex acute to acuminate. Flowers sessile, not disarticulate in fruit; sepals 2, decussate with bracts, ovate, 4-9 mm, herbaceous, margins entire, not glandular, apex acute; petals 5-9, white, sometimes with pink veins, or pinkish, obovate, 12-26 mm; stamens 9-15; stigmas 5-8. Capsules 6-9 mm. Seeds 40-50, 1.5 mm, shiny. 2n = 20. Flowering late spring-early summer. Montane meadows in sandy soil; 1300-2400 m; Ariz., Calif., Utah; Mexico (Baja California). As B. Mathew (1989b) noted, plants attributed to New Mexico probably were collected in Arizona.
TAPROOT: 1.2-9.8 cm long. STEMS: prostrate to sub-erect, 0.5-4.6 cm tall. LEAVES: persistant, sessile, oblanceolate, 1.5-8.2 cm long, 0.1-1.2 cm wide; base truncate; apex rounded at tip. INFLORESCENCE: bracts sepal-like, closely subtending the flowers. CAPSULE: 6-9 mm long. SEEDS: 1-1.8 mm long. NOTES: Sandy loam/sandstone slopes in conifer forests, often in streambeds: Apache, Coconino, Gila, Navajo, Yavapai cos.; 1100-2300 m (3,400-7,500 ft); Mar-Jun; CA, UT; Mex. REFERENCES: Allison Bair, Marissa Howe, Daniela Roth, Robin Taylor, Tina Ayers, and Robert W. Kiger., 2006, Vascular Plants of Arizona: Portulacaceae. CANOTIA 2(1): 1-22.
General: Perennial, 3-8 cm tall; stems numerous, scapose, somewhat prostrate to nearly erect; caudex short, thick; taproot gradually branched. Leaves: Numerous, basal (withering at time of flowering or immediately thereafter), cauline blades absent, oblanceolate, 3-8 cm long, glabrous, fleshy, margins entire, apex acute to obtuse; blades sessile or tapering to a broad petiole. Flowers: Inflorescence raceme-like, flowers subtended by bracts, the lowest bract leaf-like, the upper ones reduced to membranous scales; flowers showy, 8-14 mm in diameter; sepals 2, 3-5 mm long, leaf-like; petals 5, 8-10 mm long, white, pink, rose, or magenta; flowers February-May. Fruits: Capsule, circumscissile near the base, 6-9 mm long; seeds numerous, 1-2 mm long, black, shiny. Ecology: Meadows, mesas, forested and montane habitats; 1500-2400 m (5000-8000 ft); Apache, Coconino, Gila, Navajo, and Yavapai counties; southwestern U.S., Mexico. Notes: Lewisia pygmaea (alpine bitter-root) is similar to L. brachycalyx, but is distinguished by pedicellate flowers, with the paired bracts remote from the flower and not resembling the paired sepals. It occurs on rocky slopes, in moist meadows, and in open habitats, at 2100-2700 m (7000-9000 ft) in Apache, Coconino, and Navajo counties. Editor: Springer et al. 2008