Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Thyme-leaf Pinweed - Lechea minor   L.
Members of Cistaceae:
Members of Lechea with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Violales » Family Cistaceae
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AuthorL.
DistributionScattered over most of the Coastal Plain, though scarce in the eastern portions. Also present in the central and southern Mountains, but oddly scarce in the Piedmont, with only a few records. The full range of the species in the state is thus a bit unclear, based on the great scatter of records.

This is an Eastern species, found mainly along the Coastal Plain from MA to southern FL and west to eastern TX. It does range inland sparingly west to IL, KY, and TN.
AbundanceFairly common to locally common in the Sandhills and parts of the southern Coastal Plain east of the Sandhills. Infrequent to fairly common in the northern Coastal Plain, except rare in most far eastern counties. Rare to uncommon in the central and southern Mountains, and very rare in the Piedmont.
HabitatThis is a species of sandy soil. It favors sandy openings in pine/scrub oak sandhills, but it also occurs in sandy clearings, sandy fields, and pine flatwoods. Farther west it occurs in sandy openings of various wooded types.
PhenologyBlooms from July to August, and fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is a fairly typical Lechea species, meaning it is rather insignificant looking, growing to about 1-1.5 feet tall, with strongly ascending branches. The stems are slender and quite appressed pubescent. The basal shoots have mostly whorled or opposite leaves, very small and elliptical. The numerous stem leaves are small, elliptical, but only about 1/3-inch long and 1/8-inch wide, sometimes whorled but can be alternate. The flowers are tiny, in short and elongated clusters at the branch tips. Separate this species from others in the genus by: 1) plant leaning to erect with short and ascending branches; 2) stem leaves usually whorled, and at least 2 mm wide (elliptical as opposed to linear); 3) flower stalks extremely short (under 1.5 mm); and 4) outer sepals equaling or exceeding the inner sepals. Visually, the plant is a fairly narrow species with a number of strongly ascending branches (at about a 45-degree angle), with the stem slender with only appressed hairs.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Small Pinweed, Least Pinweed
State RankS3? [S4]
Global RankG5
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