General: Perennial herb from a short, thick stem-base with fibrous roots; stems erect, 5-40 cm tall; plants smooth, fleshy.
Leaves: Basal leaves waxy green, the blades oblong egg-shaped to circular or kidney-shaped, 2-12 cm long, margins wavy coarse-toothed, round-toothed, or nearly entire; long-stalked (2-25 cm).
Flowers: Inflorescence a 1- or 2- (4-) flowered, terminal cyme, the flowers 2-4 cm wide; flower stalks erect, usually leafless or with 1 leaf; petals absent; sepals 6 to 12, white or greenish, tinged bluish on outside, oblong, 8.5-23 mm long; stamens 50 or more.
Fruits: Follicles, 4 to 15, spreading, linear-oblong, 10-20 mm long, 3-4.5 mm wide; beaks straight or curved, 0.5-1.8 mm long; seeds brown, elliptic, 1.9-2.5 mm long, surface longitudinally wrinkled or grooved.
Notes: Two varieties occur in BC:
1. Leaves longer than wide, the margins more sharp-toothed than round-toothed; flowers usually 1 per stem; subalpine and alpine......................... var. leptosepala
1. Leaves nearly as wide as long, the margins subentire to broadly round-toothed; flowers mostly 2 per stem; lowland to subalpine........................... var. biflora (DC.) Lawson
Wet to moist meadows, bogs, fens, streambanks and seepage sites from the lowland to alpine zones; common in W BC, west of the Coast-Cascade Mountains (var. biflora), frequent throughout BC except Queen Charlotte Islands and adjacent coast (var. leptosepala); N to SW AK and S YK, E to AB and S to NM, AZ and CA.
A very shade-intolerant, subalpine to alpine. Western North American forb distributed equally in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Occurs in alpine tundra and subalpine boreal climates. Species occurs on water-receiving sites on moist to wet nutrient-rich soils. Scattered to abundant in herbaceous communities along small streams fed by melting snowbanks. Characteristic of subalpine communities.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-04-17 9:58:08 AM
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