Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Carolina Frostweed - Crocanthemum carolinianum   (Walter) Spach
Members of Cistaceae:
Members of Crocanthemum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Family Cistaceae
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Author(Walter) Spach
DistributionScattered over the southern half of the Coastal Plain, including a recent record for the northern part of Dare County Outer Banks. This represents the northern edge of the species' range.

This Southern species ranges north only to southeastern NC and AR, south to central FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceRare in the southern half of the Coastal Plain, and very rare as far north as Wilson and Dare counties. The NCNHP database has 20 records, though only eight seem to still be extant. As a result, the website editors believe the species is not quite rare enough to merit the NCNHP's State Rank of S1; instead, a rank of S1S2 is recommended. It is a State Endangered species.
HabitatThis is a species of sandy soil, as is the similar and much more common C. canadense. However, this species favors more natural settings and less so in clearings and borders. It usually grows in Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) stands, such as dry pine flatwoods, pine/scrub oak sandhills, and other sandy soil habitats, typically associated with pinelands.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, and fruits in July and August.
IdentificationThis species apparently has the largest flowers of the eight species of Crocanthemum in the state. It has a basal rosette of leaves, and the stem is often unbranched and reaches about 8 inches tall. This species has very few stem leaves, usually just 2-4, and these are ascending, narrowly elliptical, about 1.5 inches long and 1/2-inch wide, quite pubescent on both surfaces. The 1-2 flowers are terminal on the stem, and are quite large, being bright yellow and about 1.5 inches across, with 5 petals. C. canadense, which can grow near or with this rare species, lacks basal leaves and has 10-20 stem leaves, giving a quite different aspect with a very leafy stem with a somewhat smaller flower. The very rare C. nashii has the ovary and capsule "densely stellate pubescent" (Weakley 2018), as opposed to glabrous in all other genus members.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

All NC species of Crocanthemum were formerly placed in the genus Helianthemum.
Other Common Name(s)Carolina Sunrose
State RankS1 [S1S2]
Global RankG4
State StatusE
US Status
USACE-agcp
USACE-emp
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