Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Mountain Golden-heather - Hudsonia montana   Nuttall
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Section 6 » Order Violales » Family Cistaceae
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AuthorNuttall
DistributionThis is one of the very few plants endemic to NC. It is limited to just two small areas in the mountains of Burke and McDowell counties.

As mentioned above, it is a state endemic species. It is a sister species of Hudsonia ericoides, a northern species that is limited mainly to New England, but is disjunct south to MD, DE, and, amazingly, northern SC.
AbundanceVery rare in the Blue Ridge Escarpment, the only geographic area where it is found. Though it is not clonal/rhizomatous, it can occur in moderate stands where not trampled or disturbed. This is a Federal and State Threatened species. [Note: It is rare enough to be listed as Endangered; however, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has listed it at the lower category because the populations occur on U.S. Forest Service lands and thus are at sites where it can be given physical protection.]
HabitatRestricted to a single habitat – the thin and sandy soil found on exposed tops of granitic outcrops, often in crags or on ledges, but also on flat areas. As such, it is at times trampled by hikers, as most sites are in areas popular for human visitation, even though the plants grow on protected lands. Also, the species requires fire for long-term survival; thus, sites must be burned by conservation entities to reduce taller competition and keep sites open.
See also Habitat Account for Montane Rock Barrens
PhenologyBlooms in June and early July; fruits from mid-July to September.
IdentificationThis is a decumbent, sprawling evergreen shrub that ranges only to about 4-7” high, usually growing in clumps or “patches”. It has tiny, awl-shaped leaves only to about ¼” long, appearing in densely-crowded fashion to appear somewhat like a young cedar branch. However, it has surprisingly “large” flowers that are bright yellow and 5-petaled, to about 3/8” across. The species should be able to be recognized by its foliage alone, though it can be easily overlooked due to its low stature, unless in large stands. When in bloom, it cannot be overlooked.
Taxonomic CommentsHardly any references include the species with H. ericoides, though formerly an occasional one did, as Hudsonia ericoides ssp. montana.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS1
Global RankG1
State StatusT
US StatusLT
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