Collomia linearis (Tiny Trumpet)

Plant Info
Also known as: Narrow-leaf Mountain Trumpet, Slender-leaf Collomia
Family:Polemoniaceae (Phlox)
Life cycle:annual
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):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] 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.

[photo of glandular sepals and bracts] 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: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] 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.

[photo of stem and leaf hairs] Leaf surfaces are minutely hairy and may be glandular in the upper plant. Stems are erect, branched or not, green or tinged red, and covered in short hairs, especially in the upper plant.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

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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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Roseau County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Gabe Miller - Prairie Island, Red Wing
on: 2020-06-04 19:18:23

Just discovered this little gem for the first time in 10 years of working at my work property. Right along a cut ridge above the railway. Unfortunately it's being overrun by leafy spurge which I happened to be treating at the time of discovering this. hope I didn't have collateral damage on this.

Posted by: Jennifer Richardson - Albert Lea
on: 2023-12-14 14:31:09

Found a tiny cluster next to railroad tracks about 10 yards away. Never seen these before and there were no others around.

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