Drummond’s mountain avens – Dryas drummondii

Alaska Wildflowers | Yellow

Drummond’s Mountain Avens

Dryas drummondii

Common Names

Drummond’s mountain avens
Drummond’s dryad
yellow dryad
yellow mountain avens


Dryas drummondii Richardson ex Hooker var. drummondii
Dryas drummondii var. eglandulosa Porsild
Dryas drummondii var. tomentosa (Farr) L.O. Williams
Dryas octopetala var. drummondii (Richardson ex Hooker) S. Watson


Hybrid parent of:
Dryas ×lewinii Rouleau
Dryas ×suendermannii Kellerer ex Sundermann

Genus: Dryas
Family: Rosaceae
Order: Rosales
full classification

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Forb/herb

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Identification and Information

Dryas drummondii is a small, yellow-flowering forb/herb or shrub that grows from a woody base. It forms mats, often found in large colonies. The basal leaves of Dryas drummondii are leathery and evergreen, persisting through the winter. These leaves deteriorate as new ones emerge in spring yet remain attached to the plant. The leaf blades are elliptic, oblong-elliptic to obovate, blunt, or rounded at the tip. Margins are typically round-toothed or dentate and rolled under. The leaves are glabrous on top with feathery hairs beneath. The leafless stems, woolly in texture, grow 2-23 cm tall.

The flowers are solitary and typically nodding, with a yellow corolla that never fully opens. They have 8-10 elliptic, yellow petals, each about 1 cm long, and ovate sepals. The sepals, forming the calyx, are covered in dense black hairs. Each flower features numerous hairy stamens and superior ovaries with 15-39 styles.

The plant produces fruits composed of numerous achenes, each 2.5-3 mm long. These are tipped by silky-feathery styles that form a whorled pattern in late summer, similar to Dryas octopetala.


For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

I found no modern traditional or medicinal uses of the plant. Sometimes cultivated for use as an ornamental.

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Distribution and Habitat

Drummond’s mountain avens, Dryas drummondii, is a pioneering species, often populating land recently exposed from glacial retreat. This indicates its crucial role in early ecological succession, especially in harsh environments. It is frequently found in glacial moraines, scree slopes, gravel bars, or roadsides, favoring areas with cold climates.

Geographically, Dryas drummondii is distributed throughout much of northern North America. It is predominantly found in Alaska, various regions of Canada, and the Pacific Northwest. In Saskatchewan, the species is presumed extirpated, and it is critically imperiled in Ontario and Labrador, possibly due to habitat loss or climate change factors.


RankScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae (plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants)
SubkingdomViridiplantae (green plants)
InfrakingdomStreptophyta (land plants)
DivisionTracheophyta (vascular plants, tracheophytes)
SubdivisionSpermatophytina (spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames)
FamilyRosaceae (roses)
GenusDryas L. (mountain-avens)
SpeciesDryas drummondii Richardson ex Hook. (Drummond’s mountain-avens)

References and Further Reading


Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg. 65

Classification and Taxonomy

Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (n.d.). Dryas drummondii Richardson ex Hook. Taxonomic Serial No.: 24623. ITIS. Retrieved July 28, 2023, from https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=24623#null

Database of Vascular Plants of Canada (VASCAN) (n.d.). Dryas drummondii. Canadensys. Retrieved July 28, 2023, from https://data.canadensys.net/vascan/taxon/8732?lang=en

USDA (n.d.). Dryas drummondii. United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Retrieved July 28, 2023, from https://plants.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=DRDR


None found

Map and Distribution

GBIF (n.d.). Dryas drummondii. GBIF. Retrieved November 28, 2023, from https://www.gbif.org/species/5364173

NatureServe (n.d.). Dryas drummondii. NatureServe Explorer. Retrieved November 28, 2023, from https://explorer.natureserve.org/Taxon/ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.138717/Dryas_drummondii

Description and Information

Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. Dryas drummondii E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2023-08-15 2:08:12 PM ]

Springer, J., & Parfitt, B. (2020, November 5). Dryas drummondii. Flora of North America. Retrieved August 15, 2023, from http://floranorthamerica.org/

Wildflower Center (n.d.). Dryas drummondii. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Retrieved November 28, 2023, from https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=DRDR

Dempster Country (n.d.). Dryas drummondii. Flora of Dempster Country. Retrieved November 28, 2023, from https://www.flora.dempstercountry.org/0.Site.Folder/Species.Program/Species2.php?species_id=Dryas.drummo

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