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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Alpine Glacier Poppy - Papaver pygmaeum
Other Names:  Papaver radicatum var. pygmaeum

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G3
State Rank: S2S3
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: Unknown
CCVI: Moderately Vulnerable

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
See rank details.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Alpine Glacier Poppy (Papaver pygmaeum) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 06/07/2012
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score2 - Small: Generally 2,000-10,000 individuals.

    Range Extent

    Score3 - Local Endemic or Very Small Montana Range: Generally restricted to an area <10,000 sq. miles (equivalent to the combined area of Phillips and Valley Counties) or <6 Sub-basins (4th code watersheds) Range-wide OR limited to one Sub-basin in Montana

    CommentA local endemic. Known from Glacier National Park and surrounding mountains of B.C. and Alberta and 1 disjunct location from central Montana.

    Area of Occupancy

    Score2 - Low: Generally occurring in 4-10 Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s).

    Environmental Specificity

    Score1-2 - Moderate to High.

    CommentAlpine species whose habitat does not appear to be highly restricted, but may need specific geologic or edaphic conditions of limited distribution.


    Score0-2 - Stable to Moderate Declines:

    CommentPopulation trends are unknown, though habitat appears to be stable. Decreases in snowpack may lead to downward trends.


    Score0-1 - Low to Medium.

    CommentHabitat is generally remote, eliminating most potential threats.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score1 - Moderate Vulnerability: Specific biological attributes, unusual life history characteristics or limited reproductive potential makes the species susceptible to extirpation from stochastic events or other adverse impacts to its habitat and slow to recover.

    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 9 to 13 total points scored out of a possible 19.

General Description
Tufted, taprooted, acaulescent, white-hispid perennial with milky sap. Leaf blades ovate, 1 cm or less long with deep, rounded lobes. Flowers solitary on peduncles 5–10 cm long, nodding in bud; sepals 2, falling in flower; petals 4, 5–10 mm long, salmon to orange. Fruit a white-bristly, many-seeded, conical capsule, 8–15 mm long (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Flowering in late July, August and early September, fruiting in August.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Centered along Continental Divide extending 30 km north and 75 km south of the International Border (total: approx. 60 miles). The range includes the northwestern corner of Montana and adjacent areas of Alberta and British Columbia. Recent sources recognize the taxonomy here (Lesica 2012; Kiger and Murray 1997 in Fl. N. Amer. Vol. 3; The Plant List) in contrast to Welsh's interpretation (Utah Flora) that this taxon is a variety of P. radicatum.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 40

(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)

Sparsely vegetated, stony soil of exposed slopes and ridge tops in the alpine zone.
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

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Alpine Glacier Poppy — Papaver pygmaeum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from