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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

California Butterwort - Pinguicula macroceras
Other Names:  Pinguicula vulgaris var. macroceras

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S3
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: No Known Threats
CCVI: Moderately Vulnerable
C-value: 9

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
In Montana Pinguicula macroceras is found only in Glacier National Park (GNP). Although plants are relatively protected in GNP, populations are not that common, and many have small numbers. Information on about half of the known locations was collected prior to 1970. There is a potential for impacts where plants occur near trails and roads. Plants have been observed by some botanists as has having low fruit set. Currently data on locations, population sizes, threats, reproduction, as well as, better mapping are needed.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    California Butterwort (Pinguicula macroceras) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 08/14/2020
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Range Extent

    ScoreD - 1,000-5,000 sq km (~400-2,000 sq mi)

    Comment1,038 square kilometers.

    Area of Occupancy

    ScoreD - 6-25 4-km2 grid cells

    CommentMontana can be divided into 30,390 4x4 square kilometer cells. For this species plant observations occur in 14 of these 4x4 square kilometer cells.

    Number of Populations

    ScoreB - 6 - 20

    Comment30 observations representing about 21 discrete locations.

    Environmental Specificity

    ScoreA - Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce

    CommentCoefficient of Conservation value is 9 indicating it exhibits a high fedelity to a narrow range of ecological tolerance and does not tolerate disturbance.


    ScoreD - Low

    CommentPotential for impacts occur where plants grow near trails in Glacier National Park. Populations are often small.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    ScoreB - Moderately vulnerable

    CommentBumblebeers visit flowers, but successful fruit set rates appear to low.

General Description
PLANTS: Carnivorous, perennial forbs that grow from a fibrous root. Stems are single, leafless (scapose), and terminate into a single flower. Source: Lesica et al. 2012

LEAVES: Simple, succulent, basal leaves with short petioles. Blades are 1–4 cm long, oblong with enrolled, entire margins. Upper surface is sticky from glands (viscid). Source: Lesica et al. 2012

INFLORESCENCE: A solitary purple flower that terminates a bractless peduncle that is 3–12 cm long. Sepals are 3–5 mm long, the 5 lobes longer than the tube. Petals are purple, funnelform, somewhat bilabiate, and 15–25 mm long with a spur of 7–11 mm long. Fruit is a capsule. Source: Lesica et al. 2012

In Montana our plants are variety macroceras (Link.) Herder (Lesica et al. 2012).

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Circumboreal south to California, Montana, Michigan and New York (Lesica et al. 2012).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 30

(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)

Wet soil of fens, ledges, and stream banks in the subalpine zone or rarely in the alpine zone in Montana (Lescia et al. 2012).
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Plants are carnivorous. Insects are caught on the sticky leaves.

Reproductive Characteristics
Plants reproduce from seed.

Capsule: globose, ca. 4 mm high (Lesica et al. 2012).

Threats or Limiting Factors
Threat impact not assigned because threats are not documented. (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.
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Citation for data on this website:
California Butterwort — Pinguicula macroceras.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from