Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Woolly Beach-heather - Hudsonia tomentosa   Nuttall
Members of Cistaceae:
Members of Hudsonia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Violales » Family Cistaceae
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DistributionStrictly on the Outer Banks south to the middle of Dare County, on Hatteras Island. Thus, restricted to just Currituck and Dare counties.

Though it is strictly coastal in our region, this species has a wide range to our North. It occurs over most of southern Canada, and then south to IL and sparingly to coastal VA and NC. However, within this wide range, it is largely absent from many areas, including all of PA and nearly all of OH and WV.
AbundanceThough rare along the coast, within its narrow range it is uncommon to fairly common in its restricted habitat. The species is State Threatened, owing to the great threat from coastal development and trampling.
HabitatThis species occurs only on bare sand, typically on sand flats behind the higher dunes. It also occurs in sandy openings within Maritime Shrub natural community, and in sand blowout areas. It does not grow on high dunes or on upper beaches.
PhenologyBlooms in May and June, and fruits in August and September.
IdentificationThis is a decumbent, evergreen shrub that grows to a height of only about 6-8 inches, and somewhat wider. It typically grows in clumps or patches, to 5 or more feet across. The leaves are tiny and are closely appressed (not spreading as in H. montana) to the stem; they are quite glaucous and thus the plants have a whitish-green or light bluish-green look, making them rather easy to spot when you are walking on sand flats. The flowers are fairly large for the size of the plant; they are bright yellow, and the 5 petals are about 1/4-inch across when open.
Taxonomic CommentsGenerally none

Other Common Name(s)Beach Heather, Sand Heather, Sand False-heather, Beach Heath
State RankS2
Global RankG5
State StatusT
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieDare County, 2012, Wright Memorial, with Dichanthelium arenicola. DareBIUPhoto_natural
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