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.
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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