Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Narrowleaf Pinweed - Lechea tenuifolia   Michaux
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Section 6 » Order Violales » Family Cistaceae
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DistributionMainly found in the eastern and central Piedmont, sparingly into the southwestern Piedmont. Sparingly found in the Coastal Plain, mainly near the Piedmont.

This species has a two-parted range. It is most widespread in the Mississippi Valley, but it also has an Eastern range mainly in the Piedmont. Occurs from MA west to MN, and south to northern FL and NM.
AbundanceFairly common to frequent in the eastern Piedmont but infrequent in the central Piedmont; less numerous than is L. racemulosa. Rare in the southwestern Piedmont and along the western edge of the Coastal Plain, though fairly common in the Sandhills.
HabitatThis is a species of dry, often xeric, soils and habitats. It favors openings and edges of upland pine forests or mixed forests, as well as in xeric barrens and clearings.
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is a short but bushy-looking Lechea, normally reaching only about 8-9" tall but usually wider, with spreading branches that are usually not virgate (ascending) as in L. racemulosa and some others. The stem has appressed hairs as in most in the genus. This species is characterized by very narrow leaves, as slender as in any in the genus, as both the numerous basal leaves and stem leaves are barely 2/5" long but always 1/10" wide or less. The tiny flowers are along the many branches, scattered as opposed to clustered. In this species, the slender outer sepals are as long or longer than the broad inner sepals, whereas the other primary Piedmont species -- L. racemulosa -- has these outer sepals much shorter than the wide inner ones. Also, that species has pear-shaped capsules as opposed to nearly ovoid capsules in this one; and L. tenuifolia has needle-like leaves and a broad bushy appearance, quite different from the narrower, more upright L. racemulosa with its narrowly elliptical leaves.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Slender Pinweed
State RankS4? [S4]
Global RankG5
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