Fl. Angl. ed. 2, 157. 1778.

Common names: False asphodel
Etymology: for Thomas Tofield, 1730–1779, English botanist
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 60. Mentioned on page 11, 56, 58, 62.

Herbs, perennial, rhizomatous, glabrous. Stems scapelike, sometimes with 1–3 leaves near base, smooth. Leaves equitant, 2-ranked; blade linear. Inflorescences terminal, racemose, open to dense, sometimes spikelike, bracteate, sometimes bracteolate, elongating in fruit; bracteoles connate in epicalyx. Flowers inserted singly; tepals persistent, 6, in 2 somewhat dissimilar series, distinct; stamens 6; filaments dilated basally, strongly flattened (except T. coccinea); anthers basifixed, 2-locular, introrse, without appendages; ovary superior, stipitate, apocarpous basally, glabrous; intercarpellary nectary present; styles 3. Fruits capsular, broadly ellipsoid to globose or obovoid, chartaceous, glabrous, dehiscence septicidal, then adaxially loculicidal. Seeds reddish brown, without appendages. x = 15.


North America, Eurasia.


Species 7 or 8 (3 in the flora).

Following the example of J. G. Baker (1879) and R. R. Gates (1918), this treatment of Tofieldia excludes the species of sect. Triantha, which is recognized instead as a distinct genus; see J. G. Packer (1993). Tofieldia sometimes has been treated very broadly, to include not only Triantha but also Pleea (W. B. Zomlefer 1997c).

Selected References



1 Margins of bracts 3-lobed; bracteoles absent. Tofieldia pusilla
1 Margins of bracts ± entire; bracteoles 3-lobed. > 2
2 Stems 2–20 cm; inflorescences 0.5–2.5 cm; tepals 2–2.5 mm. Tofieldia coccinea
2 Stems 25–90 cm; inflorescences 3–25 cm; tepals 3–4.5 mm. Tofieldia glabra