Circaea alpina


Sp. Pl. 1: 9. 1753.

Treatment appears in FNA Volume 10.

Herbs glabrous or pubescent with at least a few recurved, falcate hairs, glabrous or glandular puberulent distally; stolons with apical tuber. Stems 3–50 cm. Leaves: petiole 0.3–5 cm; blade usually ovate to broadly ovate, rarely subor­biculate, 1.5–7.5(–11) × 1.5–5.5(–8) cm. Inflorescences 0.7–12(–17) cm. Flowers opening before elongation of axis, corymbiform; pedicels erect or ascending at anthesis, 0.7–3.5 mm, with or without a minute, setaceous bracteole at base; floral tube a mere constriction to 0.6 mm, funnelform to very broadly so, nectary wholly within floral tube; sepals white or pink, sometimes purple tinged apically, oblong or ovate to broadly ovate, 0.8–1.8(–2.2) × 0.6–1.3 mm; petals white, obtriangular or obdeltate to obovate or broadly obovate, 0.6–2 × 0.6–1.8 mm; apical notch to 1/2 length of petal; filaments 0.7–2.2 mm; style 0.6–2.3 mm. Capsules clavoid, tapering smoothly to pedicel, without ribs or grooves, 1.6–2.6 × 0.5–1.2 mm, 1-locular, 1-seeded; pedicel and mature fruit combined length 3.5–7.8 mm.


North America, Europe, Asia.


Subspecies 6 (2 in the flora).

Circaea alpina inhabits moist places, and is also found on moss covered rocks and logs in cold temperate and boreal forests at high altitudes and latitudes throughout the northern hemisphere and in the tropics and subtropics at high elevations in southern and southeastern Asia, at elevations 0–5000 m.

Selected References



1 Stems glabrous; leaf blade margins conspicuously dentate, base usually cordate to subcordate, rarely truncate or rounded. Circaea alpina subsp. alpina
1 Stems with at least a few recurved, falcate hairs; leaf blade margins subentire to minutely denticulate, base usually rounded to subcordate, rarely cordate. Circaea alpina subsp. pacifica