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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Arctic Sweet Coltsfoot - Petasites frigidus var. frigidus

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5T5
State Rank: S2
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank: 2
C-value: 9

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana, where it is at the southern edge of its range. Known from a few widely scattered sites in the northwest corner of the state.
General Description
Arctic sweet coltsfoot is a rhizomatous, perennial herb with erect stems that are 1-3 dm high and clothed in alternate, overlapping, brownish parallel-veined bracts that are 25-60 mm long. Leaves arise from the ground separately and later than stems. Blades are up to 2 dm wide and are spade-shaped with lobed margins and long petioles. Leaves are glabrous above but covered with long white hairs beneath. Many stalked flower heads are borne in a small umbrella-shaped inflorescence at the top of the stem. Each head is 5-9 mm high and has a single series of involucral bracts surrounding the white tubular flowers. Some heads have flowers with fertile ovaries and inconspicuous rays but without stamens. Other heads have flowers without rays but with fertile stamens and sterile ovaries. The achenes are topped by numerous unbranched, white bristles, which form a pappus.

Flowering in late May - early June.

Diagnostic Characteristics
The more common var. sagittatus has leaves that are merely toothed on the margins.

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
AK to NL south to CA, CO, SD, WI and NY (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 15

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Swamps, fen margins, and riparian seeps within open forest and meadows in the valley and foothill zones.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

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Citation for data on this website:
Arctic Sweet Coltsfoot — Petasites frigidus var. frigidus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from