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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Small Tofieldia - Tofieldia pusilla

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2
(see State Rank Reason below)

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

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Very rare in Montana, where it is known from only a very small area in Glacier National Park.
General Description
Stems glabrous, 3–12 cm. Leaves 15–25 × 1–2 mm. Flowers: tepals 1–1.5 mm long. Capsule 2–3 mm long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Flowering in July-early August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Distinguished from other members of the lily family by having a rootstock or short rhizome rather than a bulb or corm, all basal, linear leaves, and relatively small flowers with 6 similar perianth parts and a pistil with three styles. The more common Triantha occidentalis (syn. Tofieldia gluntinosa) is generally a larger plant with longer leaves and is strongly glandular hairy.

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
Circumpolar south to BC and Glacier County in MT (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 19

(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)

Moist tundra in the alpine zone.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Bradshaw, M. E. 1981. Monitoring grassland plants in Upper Teesdale, England. Pp 241-251 in: The biological aspects of rare plant conservation. H. Synge, (ed.) John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    • 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 Unpublished report to Glacier National Park, Research Division, West Glacier, Montana 59936. 55pp.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., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Small Tofieldia — Tofieldia pusilla.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from