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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Alpine Springbeauty - Claytonia megarhiza

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3S4
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Numerous collections at MONTU from Teton, Glacier, Lewis & Clark, Missoula, and Park counties. Probably secure in its high elevation habitat.
General Description
Perennial from a fleshy, branched taproot and caudex. Stems lax to ascending, 2–15 cm. Basal leaf blades numerous, fleshy, obovate to spatulate, 1–5 cm long. Stem leaves linear-oblanceolate, 1–3 cm mm long. Inflorescence bracteate; pedicels 5–20 mm long, ascending Flowers: sepals 4–8 mm long; petals white to pink, 5–10 mm long. Capsule shorter than sepals with 1 to 6 seeds (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Not likely to be confused with anything else in Montana. We have only variety megarhiza.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Across much of western MT; BC, AB south to CA, NV, UT, NM, disjunct in NT (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 29

(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)

Stony, often moist soil of talus slopes, fellfields; alpine (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus vagans, Bombus ternarius, Bombus pensylvanicus, and Bombus impatiens (Colla and Dumesh 2010, Williams et al. 2014).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Colla, S.R. and S. Dumesh. 2010. The bumble bees of southern Ontario: notes on natural history and distribution. Journal of the Entomological Society of Ontario 141:39-68.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 208 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Aho, Ken Andrew. 2006. Alpine and Cliff Ecosystems in the North-Central Rocky Mountains. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 343 p.
    • Hawkins, P.H. 1903. The alpine flora of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis, Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 24 pp.
    • Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
    • Martin, S.A. 1985. Ecology of the Rock Creek bighorn sheep herd, Beartooth Mountains, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 152 p.
    • Nunlist, E.A. 2020. Grizzly bears and humans at two moth aggregation sites in Wyoming. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 110 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Alpine Springbeauty — Claytonia megarhiza.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from