Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Blue Ridge Catchfly - Silene ovata   Pursh
Members of Caryophyllaceae:
Members of Silene with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Caryophyllales » Family Caryophyllaceae
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DistributionEssentially throughout the southern and central Mountains, north to Mitchell County. It does not range into the Piedmont.

This is a Southern species, not just limited to the mountains. It ranges from western VA and southern IL south to southern GA and MS.
AbundanceRare to uncommon in the higher elevations, and rare below about 2500 feet elevation. Though recorded from 12 counties, this is a State Special Concern species.
HabitatThis is a species of rich hardwood forests, almost always in high pH soil. It is most often found in Rich Cove Forests, especially in middle elevations (between 3000 and 4500 feet), though it can be seen along borders of such forests as well.
PhenologyBlooms in August and September, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a spectacular wildflower when in bloom. It is a robust herb, growing to about 3 feet tall on average. It has several pairs of opposite leaves, each ovate and clasping, with a pointed tip; each leaf is about 4 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. The inflorescence is somewhat of a panicle at the end of the stem, somewhat open and to 4-6 inches long. Each of the fairly numerous flowers is white, with deeply or finely dissected segments of each of the 5 corolla lobes, and the spread of the flower is about 2/3-inch across. In essence, the flower when viewed from the front looks almost like a white aster with several dozen slender rays! Though somewhat rare, it does grow in rich places where other rare plants can often be found at the same time; you can occasionally see the species from the Blue Ridge Parkway, growing on a roadbank. The other native white-flowered catchfly -- S. stellata -- has the corolla lobes dissected into many fewer and wider segments, and it has stem leaves in whorls of four.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Mountain Catchfly, Ovate Catchfly
State RankS3
Global RankG3
State StatusSC-V
US Status
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