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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Sheathed Cotton-grass - Eriophorum callitrix

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2S3
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: No Known Threats
CCVI: Extremely Vulnerable
C-value: 10

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana, where it is has been documented only from the Beartooth Plateau. Additional population data for the species in Montana are needed. However, based on the locality and habitat of the known sites, the species does not appear to be at a high degree of risk from human impacts. Additional occurrences likely exist on the Beartooth Plateau.
General Description
Caespitose. Stems 7–25 cm. Leaves: upper leaf blades rudimentary; lower blades V-shaped or triangular in cross-section, ca.1 wide. Inflorescence a solitary, erect spikelet; bracts absent. Spikelets 1–2 cm long in fruit; lowest scale ovate, ca. as long as the spikelet. Fertile scales blackish with hyaline margins, 7–12 mm long. Bristles white. Achene ca. 2 mm long (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Flowering in August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
The combination of the solitary spikelet and the tufted, non-rhizomatous habit separate this species from all other Eriophorum in our area.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Carbon County; circumpolar south to BC and WY (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 12

(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, organic soils in alpine tundra.
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

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.
    • Williams, K.L. 2012. Classification of the grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, forests and alpine vegetation associations of the Custer National Forest portion of the Beartooth Mountains in southcentral Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 376 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Sheathed Cotton-grass"
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Citation for data on this website:
Sheathed Cotton-grass — Eriophorum callitrix.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from