Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Canby's Mountain-lover - Paxistima canbyi   A. Gray
Members of Celastraceae:
Only member of Paxistima in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Celastrales » Family Celastraceae
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AuthorA. Gray
DistributionA single collection by James Hardin in 1963 from Mitchell County: Green and Taylor Nursery, NW of Poplar, persisting in abandoned nursery and covering large area as dense ground cover. Hardin 2627 (several herbaria). There are old (and recent) literature reports of it being native in NC, but none have any proof.

Native nearby in northeastern TN and western VA, north to PA and southern OH, on shale or limestone.
AbundanceVery rare. We wonder if this population is still extant? It theoretically could indeed occur as a native population/species in NC in the middle and higher Mountains, but thorough search over the decades has not turned up any such plants. As a result, the website editors feel that the State Rank should be changed from SE? (perhaps Exotic) to a straight SE (Exotic). The NCNHP has a State Rank of SU (Undetermined), which they use for most taxa on the W4 portion of the Watch List (perhaps or probably not native).
HabitatAbandoned nursery. Its natural habitat is exposed calcareous rock material, essentially just in the Ridge and Valley province in VA and eastern TN. Thus, suitable habitat in NC is rare -- the state has few exposures of limestone and similar rocks at a suitable elevation.
PhenologyFlowering April-May, fruiting August-September.
IdentificationThis is a small or dwarf shrub up to 1.5 feet tall, multi-branched -- forming sizable clumps or patches close to the rock material. Leaves are numerous, small, dark green and evergreen, linear to narrowly elliptic, only reaching about 3/4-inch long. The flowers are tiny and inconspicuous, petals 4, yellowish green, 1.5 mm long. Thus, it is a quite conspicuous "dwarf shrub" and would be hard to overlook, despite the small leaves and short stature.
Taxonomic Comments
Other Common Name(s)
State RankSU [SE]
Global RankG2?
State StatusW4 [--]
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorriePhoto taken at Little River Rock, VA, 1990s. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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