Minuartia obtusiloba

Minuartia obtusiloba

Minuartia obtusiloba

Minuartia obtusiloba.  (Alpine Sandwort).  Synonyms: Lidia obtusiloba, Areneria obtusiloba.
Caryophyllaceae.  (Pink Family)

Alpine. Tundra. Summer.
Upper Calico Trail, August 31, 2005.
Black Bear Pass Road, July 20, 2008.

We generally think that life, especially delicate and beautiful life, needs shelter, water, and, in the case of plants, rich soils.  But life thrives in many environments which do not fit these criteria.  Minuartia grows on high, dry, rocky alpine ridges exposed to intense drying sun and wind.  Water drains very quickly through the rocky surroundings.  Minuartia's habitat (and growth patterns) are quite similar to those of Alpine Phlox and Moss Campion.

Minuartia obtusiloba is an abundant, handsome plant forming a very low, dense mat of bright green leaves topped by numerous white flowers on stems that just top the basal mat of leaves or exceed it by several inches.  Sepals are curved inward in a hood and they and the leaves are blunt-tipped.  In the photograph below, the inward curving tip of the sepals can best be seen at the far right.

Minuartia obtusiloba

Linnaeus named the Minuartia genus in 1753 in honor of Juan Minuart (1693-1768), a Spanish apothecary and botanist.  Rydberg named this species Alsinopsis obtusiloba in 1906, House renamed it Minuartia obtusiloba in 1921, and Löve renamed it Lidia obtusiloba in 1976, honoring Johannes Lid, 1886-1971, Norwegian botanist. (Click for more biographical information about Juan Minuart.)

William Weber places Minuartia in Alsinaceae; most other botanists, including John Kartesz, the ultimate authority for all names on this web site, place Minuartia in Caryophyllaceae.

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
Questionable presence

Range map for Minuartia obtusiloba