Collomia linearis (Tiny Trumpet)
|Also known as:||Narrow-leaf Mountain Trumpet, Slender-leaf Collomia|
|Habitat:||sun; sandy or gravelly disturbed soils; meadows, roadsides, railroads, open woods, clearings, thickets|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||4 to 20 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Dense clusters of 7 to 20 stalkless flowers at the top of the plant and tips of branching stems. Flowers are about ½ inch long and ¼ inch across with 5 oval-elliptic petals that are fused at the base into a long, slender tube. Color ranges from white to pink to violet to blue. Inside the tube are 5 stamens of unequal lengths and a 3-parted style.
The 5 sepals cupping the flower are shorter than the floral tube, narrowly lance-triangular with a long taper to a pointed tip and densely covered in glandular hairs, especially around the edges. At the base of the cluster is a whorl of large, leaf-like bracts that are also glandular, especially near the base.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are ¾ to 3½ inches long, up to ½ inch wide, lance-linear with a pointed tip, toothless, alternate, mostly stalkless, sometimes with clusters of small leaves in the axils. The lowest leaves are smallest, linear, sometimes short-stalked, and may wither away early along with any basal leaves; the upper leaves are broadest.
Fruit is a 3-sectioned capsule about as long as the sepals, each section containing a single seed. The seed ejects from the capsule when ripe. When wet, the seed becomes sticky and hundreds of spiraling threads unwind and adhere the seed to the ground.
While Tiny Trumpets have been collected occasionally across Minnesota, we sit on the eastern limit of its range and it is not a frequent occurrence anywhere in the state. An annual that prefers dry, sandy soils, it is most commonly associated with granite outcrops, sandy shoulders of road and railroad right-of-ways, and gravel pits. But it can also occur in dry prairie and even sandy jack pine forests. In some 13 years of exploring the state, I ran into it once several years back somewhere in east central MN (location forgotten) but did not find it again until 2014, along railroad tracks in northern Roseau county, following a herbarium record from 1939. I never expected to find it, but as luck would have it, it has persisted there for 75 years. Tiny Trumpet is distinguished from other species with small, 5-petaled tubular flowers by the dense cluster at branch tips, leaves that are alternate, narrow and mostly stalkless, the hairy stem, and glandular sepals and bracts.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Tiny Trumpet plant
- Tiny Trumpet plant
- Tiny Trumpets on a railroad right-of-way
- upper leaf, underside
Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Roseau County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?