Sitka Mistmaiden (Romanzoffia sitchensis)
The common name “mistmaiden” is surely appropriate for these delightful flowers.Their delicate white blooms rising above attractive lobed leaves, are never far from streams, waterfalls, and moist rocks. They can easily be mistaken for saxifrages, due to a similarity in leaf shape, although mistmaiden’s leaves are quite unique once identified.
The name Sitka (and sitchensis) comes from the Russian coastal town (near Juneau, Alaska) of the same name, and is due to the fact, that this, and many other species were first discovered by Russian botanists there. Count Romanzoff was a Russian botany patron, who sponsored plant-finding trips to the northwest coast and elsewhere around the world in the early 1800s. Two other species of Romanzoffia are native to the area, trayci and thompsonii.
Scotter and Flygare (Wildflowers of the Canadian Rockies) describe mistmaidens as “one of the alpine glories”, and we couldn’t agree more.