Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Eastern Grasswort - Lilaeopsis chinensis   (L.) Kuntze
Members of Lilaeopsis with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Apiales » Family Apiaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
Author(L.) Kuntze
DistributionEssentially throughout the coastal and tidal areas of the state, lacking only a few counties that have tidal waters.

This is a strictly coastal species, ranging from southern ME to central FL, and west to eastern TX.
AbundanceFairly common to locally quite common, probably more numerous along and near the northern half of the coast.
HabitatThis species usually grows immediately next to a tidal river, or at the edges of tidal fresh to brackish marshes, favoring mudflats and muddy shores.
PhenologyBlooms in May and June, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a very small plant, and would be named as a "belly plant" except for the fact that growing in a tidal marsh or mudflat, you don't dare get on your belly to look for or at it. It has a horizontal stem, on the mud, rooting at nodes, from which a pair of short erect leaves emerge. Each leaf is rich green and fleshy, flattened, usually only 2" tall, with a rounded tip; the septa (horizontal separations on the "leaf") are difficult to see, but there are usually about 4-6 such septa. At each node is a very small umbel, on a stalk about 3" tall, rising somewhat above the leaves. Only 4-9 very small white flowers comprise each umbel. The other member of the genus -- L. carolinensis, has much taller leaves to about 8" tall. Experienced biologists can and will recognize both of these just from the leaves, though L. chinensis is so short that it can be easily overlooked, especially as most survey work for it will likely be from a boat such as a canoe.
Taxonomic CommentsNone. As Weakley (2018) states: "the species is native to e. North America and has nothing to do with China".

Other Common Name(s)Marsh Lilaeopsis, Eastern Lilaeopsis
State RankS3? [S3S4]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Select a source
AllHerbaria
Website
Select an occurrence type
AllCollection_natural