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Besseya alpina

Besseya alpina (Alpine Kitten Tails). Synonym: Synthyris alpina.
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Alpine. Tundra.  Summer.
Placer Gulch, July 17, 2011.

Besseya alpina
Besseya alpina (Alpine Kitten Tails). Synonym: Synthyris alpina.
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Alpine. Tundra.  Summer.
Placer Gulch, July 17, 2011.

Besseya alpina is a minute and exotic addition to the alpine tundra.  It grows from 2-8 inches tall and can be quite hairy, as shown here, or glabrous (not hairy).  As the map below indicates, Besseya alpina is found in just a few western states.

Besseya alpina is one of the many plants that Charles Parry discovered for science.  He did so in 1861 in the "headwaters of South Clear Creek [Colorado]".  The plant was at first named Synthyris alpina by Asa Gray. Per Axel Rydberg renamed it Besseya alpina in 1903. 

Click to see Besseya ritteriana and to read about the meaning of the genus name.

Besseya alpina

Besseya alpina (Alpine Kitten Tails). Synonym: Synthyris alpina.
Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Alpine. Tundra.  Summer.
Placer Gulch, July 17, 2011.

Flowers have faded and seeds are beginning to form.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Besseya alpina

Range map for Besseya alpina