Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Stiff Cowbane - Oxypolis rigidior   (L.) Rafinesque
Members of Apiaceae:
Members of Oxypolis with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Apiales » Family Apiaceae
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Author(L.) Rafinesque
DistributionThroughout the Mountains, but scattered across nearly all of the Piedmont; present in much of the Coastal Plain, though mostly absent in the northeastern portions.

This is a widespread Eastern species, mainly from PA and MN south to western FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceFairly common to frequent in the Mountains; uncommon to infrequent in the Piedmont and in the southern and western Coastal Plain. Rare in the northern Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis is a wetland species, growing in bogs, openings in swamps, wet thickets, streamsides, and other damp and usually partly shaded ground.
PhenologyBlooms from August to October, and fruits in October and November.
IdentificationThis is a rather robust herb, growing to about 3-4 feet tall. This species has only few alternate leaves, and unlike most others in the family, has just singly-pinnate leaves, with about 5-9 leaflets. Each leaflet is sessile, rather narrow and usually oblong to oblanceolate, about 4 inches long and 1-inch wide, usually with several quite sharp and distinct teeth at the distal end, but most of the basal 3/4th of the leaflet is entire and uncut, though some specimens can show serrated margins. The umbels at the end of the stem or branches are rather large, about 5-6 inches across, with 20 or more umbellets on long and often curved rays, with small white flowers. But it is the distinctive once-divided leaves and narrow, sharp-tipped leaflets that identify the species, not the flowers.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Pig-potato
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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US Status
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B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, seepy gasline off Meyers Lane, Aug 2009. RichmondPhoto_natural
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