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

Tofieldia pusilla (Michx.) Pers.
common false asphodel (Scotch false asphodel)
(Previously in Liliaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Alfred Cook  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #11233)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Tofieldia pusilla
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Perennial herb from a short rhizome; flowering stems erect, 5-20 (25) cm tall, very slender, smooth.
Basal leaves several to many, in fan-like tufts, linear, 2-9 cm long, 1-4 mm wide, usually 3-veined, smooth, sheathing at the base, folded in iris-like fashion, the margins entire; stem leaves lacking or occasionally 1, bract-like and near the base.
Inflorescence a compact, head- to spike-like, 0.5- to 3-cm long, terminal cluster of several to many short-stalked flowers, the stalks with bracts at the base; flowers greenish-white, cup-shaped, of 6 similar, distinct tepals, the tepals narrowly oblong, 1.5-3 mm long, spreading; stamens 6; pistil 1, 3-chambered.
Capsules, 3-lobed and 3-beaked, erect, greenish to straw-coloured, 2-3 mm long; seeds numerous, enclosed in spongy coats, without appendages.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet, gravelly flushes, fens, marshy meadows, thickets, turfy shorelines and streambanks in the montane to alpine zones; infrequent in E and N BC, rare in SC BC (Bridge River); circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to ND, MI and MN; Greenland, Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Tofieldia pusilla

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) 676 1326 1990
Slope Gradient (%) 0 9 50
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 1 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 5 8
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: BAFA(5), BWBS(6), ESSF(8), ICH(2), MS(2), SBS(2), SWB(8)


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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Narthecium pusillum Michx.
Tofieldia borealis
Tofieldia palustris auct. non Huds.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References