Linnaea borealis L.
Caprifoliaceae (Valerian family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Rosemary Taylor     (Photo ID #40615)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Linnaea borealis
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Evergreen, creeping, semiwoody herb or subshrub; stems long, slender, weakly rooting, thinly hairy and often also glandular, producing numerous short (less than 10 cm tall), more or less erect, leafy stems or branchlets with 2-4 pairs of leaves.
Opposite, simple, short-stalked, egg-shaped to nearly circular, with a few shallow teeth along the upper half, 7-25 mm long, 5-15 mm wide, leathery, dark green above, paler below, glabrous or the stalks and margins of the leaf bases often fringed with long hairs.
Inflorescence of nodding pairs of flowers on slender, erect, Y-shaped stalks that terminate the leafy branchlets; base of flowers cradled by two tiny bracts; corollas slenderly funnel-shaped, 9-16 mm long, pink to whitish, flaring above to 5 lobes, hairy in the throat; styles about as long as corollas, with a tiny knoblike stigma; stamens 4.
Dry 1-seeded achenes (nutlets), flanked by a pair of tiny glandular bracts.
Two subspecies occur in BC:

1. Corollas 9-11 mm long, narrowly bell-shaped, flaring from within the calyces, tubes very short or sometimes absent................... ssp. borealis

1. Corollas 10-16 mm long, funnel-shaped, tubes about equalling or surpassing the calyces...................ssp. longiflora (Torr.) Hult.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Linnaea borealis

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)
982 0 2500
Slope Gradient (%)
18 -2 262

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

221 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

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

AT(2), BWBS(1567), CDF(86), CWH(1392), ESSF(1248), ICH(3302), IDF(1495), MH(59), MS(1857), PP(13), SBPS(523), SBS(2842), SWB(223)

Habitat and Range

Mesic forests in the lowland and montane zones; ssp. longiflora common throughout BC; ssp. borealis infrequent in extreme NW BC; ssp. borealis - circumboreal, N to AK and YT, ssp. longiflora - N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to IN, NM and CA.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Linnaea americana Forbes
Linnaea borealis var. americana (Forbes) Rehder