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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Wind River Draba - Draba ventosa

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G3
State Rank: S2S3
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: No Known Threats
CCVI: Extremely Vulnerable

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Draba ventosa is known from one site in the Madison Range and has been reported from a second site in the Snowcrest Range. Current population levels and trends are unknown. However, its high-elevation habitat is relatively inaccessible, and there are no obvious threats. Additional sites are likely to be documented.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Wind River Draba (Draba ventosa) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 03/28/2013
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score2-3 - Very Small to Small: Population size is imprecisely known but is believed to be <10,000 individuals.

    Range Extent

    Score1 - Peripheral, Disjunct or Sporadic Distribution in MT: Widespread species that is peripheral, disjunct or sporadically distributed within MT such that it occurs in <5% of the state (<7,500 sq. miles or the combined area of Beaverhead and Ravalli Counties) or is restricted to 4-5 sub-basins.

    Area of Occupancy

    Score3 - Very Low: Generally occurring in 3 or fewer Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s).

    Environmental Specificity

    Score1-2 - Moderate to High.


    Score0-1 - Stable to Minor Declines:

    CommentTrends unknown, though populations are likely stable or experiencing only minor declines.


    Score0 - Low: Impacts, if any, to the species are expected to be minor or insignificant (affecting <10% of populations) in severity, scope and immediacy.

    CommentHabitat is remote.

    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 8 to 11 total points scored out of a possible 19.

General Description
Wind River draba is a mat-forming perennial with leaf rosettes at the ends of numerous rootcrown branches which are clothed with old leaf bases. The leafless stems are 2-4 cm high and arise from some of the rosettes. The fleshy, narrowly egg-shaped leaves are 5-12 mm long and 2-4 mm wide, have entire margins, and are densely covered with branched hairs. 3-20 stalked flowers are borne at the tops of the stems. Each flower has 4 separate sepals, 4 separate, yellow petals that are 4-5 mm long, and 4 long and 2 short stamens. The style is 1.0-1.5 mm long. The hairy, flattened, egg-shaped capsules are 5-8 mm long and are borne on ascending to spreading stalks that are as long as the capsules.

Flowering occurs in late June-July; fruiting in August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
There are many similar appearing, yellow-flowered, mat-forming species of Draba in our area. A technical manual and hand lens or microscope are required for positive identification. In Montana, D. paysonii is the only other yellow-flowered, high-elevation, mat-forming species with tangled hair on the leaves, but its largest leaves average less than 2 mm wide.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
YT south to UT and CO; known from Madison County (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX)

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 5

(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)

Draba ventosa occurs in scree and shifting talus of slopes near or above treeline, often but not always on limestone parent material. Associated species include Dryas octopetala, Saxifraga oppositifolia, Antennaria aromatica and Draba oligosperma.
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

Draba ventosa occupies habitats with sparse vegetation suggesting that it is not tolerant of competition.

Wind River draba is found in inaccessible high-elevation sites. There are no immediate anthropogenic threats. However, at least one site is in a historic mining district, so mining could pose a threat in the future.

Threats or Limiting Factors
Threat impact not assigned because threats are not known (MTNHP Threat Assessment 2021).

  • 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.
    • Mulligan, G.A. 1976. The genus Draba in Canada and Alaska: key and summary. Canadian Journal of Botany 54:1386-1393.
    • Mulligan, G.A. Cytotaxonomic studies of Draba species of Canada and Alaska: D. Ventosa, D. ruaxes, and D. paysonii. Canadian Journal of Botany 49:1455-1460.
    • Vanderhorst, J.P. 1994. Sensitive plant surveys in the Gallatin National Forest, Montana. Unpublished report to the Gallatin National Forest. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 54 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Wind River Draba — Draba ventosa.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from