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. 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).
Fls perfect; tep separate, spreading or ascending, sessile, glandless; stamens 6, hypogynous, with subulate, flattened filaments and ovate or rotund, introrse, basifixed anthers; ovary superior, with 3 short, subulate styles; ovules numerous; capsule septicidal, subtended by the persistent perianth and tipped by the enlarged divergent styles; perennial herbs with several 2-ranked, linear lvs at or near the base, and an erect scape usually bearing a small lf near the middle and terminating in a dense raceme of white or greenish fls. 15, N. Hemisphere and Andes of S. Amer.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.