Caltha leptosepala DC.
white mountain marsh-marigold (elkslip; mountain marsh-marigold; white marsh-marigold)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Rosemary Taylor     (Photo ID #60574)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Caltha leptosepala
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial herb from a short, thick stem-base with fibrous roots; stems erect, 5-40 cm tall; plants smooth, fleshy.
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).
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.
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.
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

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Caltha leptosepala

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)
1510 1080 1890
Slope Gradient (%)
14 0 70

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

174 120 228
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 4 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

BAFA(4), ESSF(5), MH(1)

Habitat and Range

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Caltha biflora DC.
Caltha biflora subsp. howellii (Huth) Abrams
Caltha howellii Huth
Caltha leptosepala subsp. biflora (DC.) P.G. Sm.
Caltha leptosepala var. biflora (DC.) G. Lawson