E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Mitella ovalis Greene
oval-leaved mitrewort (coastal miterwort)
Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6956)

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Distribution of Mitella ovalis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from slender rhizomes; stems erect, 15-30 cm tall, brownish- to whitish-hairy below, glandular and fine-hairy above, leafless.
Basal leaves egg-shaped, with heart-shaped bases, 1.5-3.5 cm wide, up to 1.5 times as long, shallowly 5- to 9-lobed, shallowly doubly toothed, brownish- to whitish-hairy, long-stalked; stem leaves usually absent.
Inflorescence a closely-flowered spike-like cluster of 20 to 60 flowers, blossoming upward, the flower stalks stout, to 2 mm long; petals greenish-yellow, the claw slender, the blades dissected into 4 to 7 linear, unpaired segments; calyces saucer-shaped, 2.5-3.5 mm wide, greenish-yellow, joined to ovary for about 1/3 length; free hypanthium thinly gland-lined, somewhat spreading, about length of lobes; calyx lobes 5, triangular, spreading to bent back; stamens 5, opposite the calyx lobes.
Capsules; seeds black, veiny-pitted.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Wet to moist woodlands and streambanks in the lowland zone; locally common on S Vancouver Island; S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Mitella ovalis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 14 346 1491
Slope Gradient (%) 0 4 50
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
37 222 284
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 5 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(46), ESSF(1), ICH(4)

Ecological Indicator Information

Shade-tolerant Western North American forb which grows on boreal, temperate, and cool mesothermal climates. Restricted to the Pacific region, submontane to montane. Species occurs on very moist to wet, nitrogen-rich soils. Sparse to occasional in semi-open stands on water-receiving and water-collecting sites. Usually associated with Athyrium filix-femina, Gymnocarpium dryopteris, Oplopanax horridus, Ribes lacustre, Tiarella trifoliata, and T. unifoliata. Nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Pectiantia ovalis (Greene) Rydb.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References