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Ivesia gordonii

alpine ivesia, alpine mousetail, Gordon's ivesia

Photo is of parent taxon

alpine ivesia, Gordon's ivesia, Howell's ivesia

Habit Plants green, ± tufted, sometimes rosetted; taproot stout, not fleshy.

prostrate to erect, (0.2–)0.5–4 dm.

usually greenish, rarely reddish, usually ascending to erect, sometimes decumbent, 0.3–2 dm, not or sparsely hirsute to villous, glandular-puberulent or -pubescent.

Basal leaves

tightly to loosely cylindric, (1–)3–20(–25) cm; sheathing base ± glandular abaxially, otherwise glabrous;

petiole 0.5–8 cm, hairs 0.2–0.5 mm;

leaflets (6–)10–25 per side, (1–)2–13(–18) mm, glabrous or ± hirsute or villous, glandular-puberulent or -pubescent, lobes (2–)4–8(–15), linear or narrowly oblanceolate to obovate, apex rarely setose.

2–8(–10) × 0.5–1(–1.5) cm;

leaflets 2–5(–9) mm, hirsute to pilose, rarely minutely glandular at least marginally.

Cauline leaves

1(–2), not paired.


5–50(–70)-flowered, 1–8(–11) cm diam.;

glomerules 1–several.

5–25-flowered, usually simple, 1–3(–4) cm diam., glomerules usually 1, ± capitate.


1–3(–5) mm.


5–12 mm diam.;

epicalyx bractlets linear to narrowly elliptic, (0.5–)1–3.5(–4) mm;

hypanthium turbinate to campanulate, (1.5–)2–4(–4.5) × 2–4(–5) mm;

sepals (2–)2.5–5(–6) mm, obtuse to ± acute;

petals yellow, narrowly oblanceolate to narrowly spatulate, (1–)1.5–3 mm;

stamens 5, filaments 1.3–2.5 mm, anthers yellow, sometimes red-margined, 0.5–1 mm;

carpels (1–)2–4(–6), styles 2.5–4.5(–6) mm.

5–9 mm diam.;

epicalyx bractlets (1.5–)2–3(–4) mm;

hypanthium (2–)2.5–3.5(–4) × 2.5–4 mm;

sepals 2–4(–5) mm, acute;

anthers rarely red-margined.


grayish brown to mottled brown, ± 2 mm.

Ivesia gordonii

Ivesia gordonii var. alpicola

Phenology Flowering summer.
Habitat Dry grassy areas on talus, or gravelly or rocky slopes and ridges, in subalpine and alpine montane conifer woodlands, alpine tundra
Elevation 2100–3300 m (6900–10800 ft)
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA

Varieties 4 (4 in the flora).

Ivesia gordonii is the most widespread species of the genus, occurring from Washington to Montana, south to central California and Colorado. The species can be distinguished from other members of sect. Ivesia by the relatively deep hypanthium, which is about as deep as wide. Four varieties are provisionally recognized here (B. Ertter and J. L. Reveal 2007), with the likelihood that future work may indicate additional and/or alternate circumscriptions. Populations that are difficult to assign to a variety can be found where the recognizable taxonomic units come together, for example, in northeastern Utah and western Wyoming, involving var. gordonii and var. wasatchensis, and in California and central Idaho where var. alpicola and var. ursinorum tend to merge.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

P. A. Rydberg (1898) used var. alpicola (as Horkelia gordonii var. alpicola) for compact, high-elevation plants throughout the range of Ivesia gordonii. As circumscribed here, var. alpicola is restricted to plants occurring disjunctly in an arc around the northwestern part of the species range. Populations occur in the northern Coast Ranges and central Sierra Nevada of California, sporadically to Mount Adams and the Wenatchee Mountains in Washington, and from there to the mountains of central Idaho and the Bitterroot Range of Montana. The variety is also disjunct on the Owyhee Mountains of southwestern Idaho.

Plants of var. alpicola average shorter than those of var. gordonii, which occurs farther east and south. In var. alpicola, stems with only glandular indumentum are common; such stems are rare in var. gordonii. Unlike those of var. gordonii, the leaflets of var. alpicola are frequently glandular with only marginal hairs.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Leaflets 7–13(–18) mm, glabrous or sparsely hirsute or villous marginally; stems (1–)1.5–4 dm; inflorescences usually branched, 2–8(–11) cm diam., glomerules (1–)2–6(–10), ± capitate.
var. wasatchensis
1. Leaflets (1–)2–7(–9) mm, hairy or ± glabrous except marginally ciliate; stems (0.2–)0.5–2.5 dm; inflorescences simple or branched, 1–3(–5) cm diam., glomerules 1(–3), ± capitate to loosely congested
→ 2
2. Stems usually prostrate to ascending, rarely nearly erect, usually dark reddish, minutely glandular or glandular-puberulent to -pubescent; leaves to 0.8 cm diam.; anthers usually red-margined.
var. ursinorum
2. Stems usually ascending to erect, sometimes decumbent, usually greenish, rarely reddish, hirsute to villous, glandular-puberulent to -pubescent; leaves to 1.5 cm diam.; anthers rarely red-margined
→ 3
3. Stems usually hirsute to villous, sometimes densely so, glandular-pubescent or eglandular; basal leaves (3–)5–10(–15) cm; flowers 7–12 mm diam.; e Idaho and w Montana to Utah, Wyoming, and w Colorado.
var. gordonii
3. Stems not or sparsely hirsute to villous, glandular-puberulent or -pubescent; basal leaves 2–8(–10) cm; flowers 5–9 mm diam.; s Washington to California and e to w Montana.
var. alpicola
Source FNA vol. 9, p. 233. FNA vol. 9, p. 234.
Parent taxa Rosaceae > subfam. Rosoideae > tribe Potentilleae > Ivesia > sect. Ivesia Rosaceae > subfam. Rosoideae > tribe Potentilleae > Ivesia > sect. Ivesia > Ivesia gordonii
Sibling taxa
I. aperta, I. argyrocoma, I. arizonica, I. baileyi, I. callida, I. campestris, I. cryptocaulis, I. jaegeri, I. kingii, I. longibracteata, I. lycopodioides, I. muirii, I. multifoliolata, I. paniculata, I. patellifera, I. pickeringii, I. pityocharis, I. pygmaea, I. rhypara, I. sabulosa, I. santolinoides, I. saxosa, I. sericoleuca, I. setosa, I. shockleyi, I. tweedyi, I. unguiculata, I. utahensis, I. webberi
I. gordonii var. gordonii, I. gordonii var. ursinorum, I. gordonii var. wasatchensis
Subordinate taxa
I. gordonii var. alpicola, I. gordonii var. gordonii, I. gordonii var. ursinorum, I. gordonii var. wasatchensis
Synonyms Horkelia gordonii, Potentilla gordonii I. alpicola, Horkelia gordonii var. alpicola
Name authority (Hooker) Torrey & A. Gray: in War Department [U.S.], Pacif. Railr. Rep. 6(3): 72. (1858) (Rydberg ex Howell) Ertter & Reveal: Novon 17: 322. (2007)
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