Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for White-flowered Leafcup - Polymnia canadensis   L.
Members of Asteraceae:
Only member of Polymnia in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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DistributionLow to mid elevations in the Mountains; disjunct to the northern Piedmont of Surry County: "small south cove, hardwoods, Pilot Mountain" in 1941. Records known for just 7 counties.

VT to Ont. and MN, south to northwestern GA, AL, and AR.
AbundanceRare in the Mountains, and very rare in the northwestern Piedmont (if still present there). Numerous only at one ore two places, such as near Hot Springs in Madison County. This is a Watch List species, but it is rare enough to be tracked as Significantly Rare and moved from S2 to S1S2.
HabitatMoist to mesic, rocky, hardwood or pine-hardwood slopes along or above streams; cove hardwoods. Soils are circumneutral or higher in pH.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-October.
IdentificationWhite-flowered Leafcup is quite robust, growing up to 4 or 5 feet tall, often several stems from a rootcrown. Leaves are large (up to a foot long and 9 inches wide), pinnately and deeply lobed into 5 or so broad segments. The inflorescence is branched, terminal and usually also with a couple of flowering stalks from the upper leaf axils. Rays are white and short, or sometimes absent; disks are pale yellow. Among our composites, only Smallanthus is similar, but its rays are yellow and much longer and its leaves are palmately lobed into 3 parts. Sadly, such a tall and striking plant is very scarce in the state, not seen by most biologists, much less by the public.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Small-flowered Leafcup
State RankS2 [S1S2]
Global RankG5
State StatusW7 [SR]
US Status
USACE-empFACU link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorriePhoto taken in northwestern GA, 2015. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
B.A. Sorrie.Photo taken at Paint Rock Preserve, Jackson Co, AL. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC