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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Dwarf mentzelia - Mentzelia pumila

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S2S3
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank: 3

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana, where it is known only from sandy sites within the Bighorn Basin area. Additional data on population levels and trends are needed.
General Description
Dwarf Mentzelia is an herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial herb with branched, white stems that arise from a stout taproot and that are 2-6 dm tall. The lance-shaped basal leaves are 8-10 cm long and have short petioles and broadly-toothed margins. The alternate leaves become sessile, smaller, and more deeply lobed higher on the stem. The foliage is covered with short, barbed hairs that cause it to stick to clothing like velcro. 1-3 flowers are borne on short stalks arising from the axils of the reduced upper leaves, or bracts. Flowers have 10 yellow petals that are 9-15 mm long and numerous stamens, the outer of which are petal-like. The calyx forms a deep bowl with 5 narrow, pointed lobes that are 4-10 mm long; it also contains the ovary and bears the stamens. The cylindrical seed capsules are 15-20 mm long.

Flowering in June-early July.

Diagnostic Characteristics
This is our only Mentzelia with 10 yellow petals and our only perennial member of the genus with calyx lobes less than 10 mm long.

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
ND and south-central MT to CO, UT, and NV. Peripheral.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 33

(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)

Open, usually sandy soil in desert shrubland and woodland in the valley and foothill zones.

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Brown, D. K. and R. B. Kaul. 1981. Floral structure and mechanism in Loasacae. American Jounal of Botany 68(3):361-372.
    • Lesica, P. and P.L. Achuff. 1992. Distribution of vascular plant species of special concern and limited distribution in the Pryor Mountain desert, Carbon County, Montana. Unpublished report to the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 105 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • North Dakota Natural Heritage Program. 1993. 1991-1992 inventory of rare plant species in the Little Missouri National Grasslands. Unpublished report to the Custer National Forest. Bismarck, North Dakota. 72 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Dwarf mentzelia — Mentzelia pumila.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from