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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Simple Kobresia - Kobresia simpliciuscula

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3
* (see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank: 3
C-value: 9

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana, where it is known from over a dozen sites from montane wetlands to mesic, alpine tundra. The specieshas a wide distribution and is scattered across the mountainous portion of the state.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Simple Kobresia (Kobresia simpliciuscula) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date =
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score1 - Moderate: Generally 10,000-100,000 individuals.

    Range Extent

    Score0-1 - Widespread to Sporadically Distributed: Species has a distribution in the state such that it is borderline in its classification or its distribution is too imprecisely documented to place it in one class.

    Area of Occupancy

    Score1 - Moderate: Generally occurring in 11-25 Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s).

    Environmental Specificity

    Score1 - Moderate: Species is restricted to a specific habitat that is more widely distributed or to several restricted habitats and is typically dependent upon relatively unaltered, good-quality habitat (C Values of 5-7).

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score1-2 - Moderate to High Vulnerability.

General Description
Stems 5–20 cm. Leaves flat, 1–2 mm wide. Inflorescence of several aggregated spikes 3–6 mm long; bracts 3–4 mm long. Spikelets: upper male, 1-flowered; lower female or bisexual, 1- or 2-flowered. Perigynia brown, 2.5–3 mm long. Achenes ca. 3 mm long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Mature fruit in late July-August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
This species could easily be mistaken for a true sedge (Carex), but is distinguished by having a bract wrapped around the ovary, rather than a closed perigynium. Kobresia myosuroides , which can occur in the same habitat, is distinguished by having a solitary spike rather than multiple spikes.

Species Range

Range Comments
Glacier and Teton counties; circumboreal south to UT and CO (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

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)

Montane fens to moist tundra in the alpine zone.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Cooper, D. J. 1991. Additions to the peatland flora of the southern Rocky Mountains: habitat description and water chemistry. Madrono 38(2): 139-143.
    • Fertig, W. and G. Jones. 1992. Plant communities and rare plant species of the Swamp Lake Botanical Area, Clark's Fork Ranger District, Shoshone National Forest. Unpublished report to the Shoshone National Forest. Challenge Cost Share Agreement No. CSA-2-91-14-0001. Wyoming Natural Diversity Database. 113+ pp.
    • Lesica, P. 1991. The Rare Vascular Plants of Pine Butte Swamp Preserve. Unpublished Report to the Nature Conservancy. 15 Pp.
    • Lesica, P. and B. McCune. 1992. Monitoring the effects of global warming using peripheral rare plants in wet alpine tundra in Glacier National Park, Montana. Unpublished report to Glacier National Park, Research Division, West Glacier, Montana 59936. 55pp.
    • Lesica, P., K. Lackschewitz, J. Pierce, S. Gregory and M. O'Brien. 1986. Noteworthy collections: Montana. Madrono 33:310-312.
    • Lesica, P., M. T. Lavin, and P. F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Scott, R. W. 1966. The alpine flora of northwestern Wyoming. M.S. thesis. University of Wyoming, Laramie. 219 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Simple Kobresia — Kobresia simpliciuscula.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from