This is bitter root, also known by locals as "rock rose." It's probably one of the prettiest flowers in the South Okanagan, a drought-tolerant succulent that produces an incredible flower from what often appears to be barren, dry land. The roots were used by local First Nations as a food source, and were traded with other bands, often for dried salmon.

This is a poem my nana wrote, comparing bitter root flowers to dancers, performing a "minuet" on an old hardwood floor.


As primly gay As sweet old-fashioned ladies In ruffled skirts -- hooped dancing skirts Of pink and frilly white -- The rock roses grow Over the long brown flats.

As daintily And prettily they stand As if they paused a moment In the minuet, On an old hardwood floor Of long ago,

Wrap't in the music Held with a note of the violin.

Only the wind, Whistling clear through the pines And soft and low in the sage Is their music now.