Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Sticky False-asphodel - Triantha glutinosa   (Michaux) Baker
Members of Tofieldiaceae:
Members of Triantha with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Liliales » Family Tofieldiaceae
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Author(Michaux) Baker
DistributionFound at scattered sites in the Mountains, known from only 7 counties (if the iNaturalist photo for Watauga is mapped correctly).

This is a Northern species, found across Canada and south mainly to NH, NY, the Great Lakes states, and OR. There are widely scattered records farther south, with a few records in WV, VA, western NC, northern GA, and eastern TN.
AbundanceVery rare, mainly present (disjunctly) in the southern Mountains. This is a State Special Concern species.
HabitatThis species has very narrow habitat requirements. Not only is it essentially restricted to bogs, fens, and seeps, it is mainly found on high pH soils over rocks such as amphibolite.
See also Habitat Account for Montane Herbaceous Peatlands
PhenologyBlooms in July and August, and fruits in September and October.
IdentificationThis lily has a grass-like aspect when not in bloom. It has a basal clump of very narrow leaves, growing to about 8-12 inches tall, with a scape that extends to about 15 inches high. The top 2-3 inches contain the narrow thyrse of small white flowers, generally not as densely packed on the scape as on the similar but mainly coastal Triantha racemosa. Each flower has six narrow tepals and is about 1/4-inch across. In its montane bog or fen habitat, there should be no other confusing species. As there are only a few sites where it is known in the state, an observer is not likely to encounter it during a routine visit to a montane bog.
Taxonomic CommentsDuring much of the 20th Century, this taxon and T. racemosa were considered as being in the genus Tofieldia; in fact, RAB (1968) considered this taxon as just a variety -- named as Tofieldia racemosa var. glutinosa. Most recent references consider it a good species, and named as Triantha glutinosa.

Other Common Name(s)Northern Bog-Asphodel, Sticky Bog-asphodel, Sticky Tofieldia. The NC NHP and NatureServe use "Sticky Bog-asphodel". However, a species in the other genus -- Tofieldia glabra -- is named as Carolina Bog-asphodel, whereas Triantha racemosa is named as Coastal False-asphodel. It is much better to be consistent with the group name for each of these genera, and thus the Triantha species should be named as "false-asphodels" and the Tofieldia species should be named as "bog-asphodels". We thus use Sticky False-asphodel for the common name of this species.
State RankS1
Global RankG5
State StatusSC-V
US Status
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B.A. SorriePhoto taken 1982, Allagash, ME. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
B.A. SorriePhoto taken 1988, Port au Port, Newfoundland. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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