Stems 1.5-30 cm. Leaf blades to 8 cm × 3 mm. Inflorescences open, 3-35-flowered, 0.3-5 cm; bracts whitish, margins deeply 3-lobed; bracteoles absent. Flowers: tepals white to yellowish green, 1.5-3 mm, inner tepals slightly longer than outer; stamens ± equaling tepals; ovary ellipsoid; styles 0.3-0.4 mm; pedicel 1-3 mm. Capsules subglobose, 2.5-3 mm. Seeds 0.6-0.8 mm. 2n = 30. Flowering summer. Moist, open areas, often calcareous; 0--2300 m; Greenland; Alta., B.C., Man., Nfld. and Labr., N.W.T., Nunavut, Ont., Que., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Mich., Minn., Mont.; Eurasia. What appear to be hybrids between Tofieldia pusilla and T. coccinea occasionally occur in Greenland and the Northwest Territories. They are characterized by a leafy bract at or near the middle of the stem and enlarged, crimson bracts below the pedicels. In some suspected hybrids, the bracts are absent, and fused bracteoles, trunctate or lobed, sheathe the pedicels well below the flowers.
Smaller than no. 1 [Tofieldia glutinosa (Michx.) Pers.]; basal lvs numerous, 1-6 cm; cauline lvs 0-2, below the middle of the scape, much reduced; scape glabrous, 5-20 cm, the dense terminal raceme 5-20 mm; tep greenish-white, narrowly oblong-obovate, 1.5-2.5 mm; fr 3 mm; seeds ellipsoid, angular, 0.6 mm. Wet rocks and alpine or arctic meadows; circumboreal, in Amer. s. to Que., Isle Royale, n. Minn., and Mont. July, Aug. (T. palustris, an illegitimate name)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.