Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Highland Doghobble - Leucothoe fontanesiana   (Steudel) Sleumer
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Section 6 » Order Ericales » Family Ericaceae
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Author(Steudel) Sleumer
DistributionThroughout the mountains and foothills; ranges to the central Piedmont, east to Forsyth and Stanly counties. Records farther east (Orange County) might be of escaped individuals.

This species has a fairly small but “tight” distribution centered on the southern Appalachians. It ranges north only to southwestern VA, and south to northern GA and northeastern AL. It extends no farther west than east-central TN.
AbundanceCommon to abundant across all of the mountains, and common in the western Piedmont. It becomes scarce east to the central Piedmont.
HabitatThis is a characteristic species of forested streamsides, lower parts of ravines, and wet woods, in acidic soils. It is usually associated with Rhododendron maximum, and to a lesser extent Kalmia latifolia. As with many shrubs, it can grow in extensive stands, especially linearly along creeks.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May; fruits in September and October.

IdentificationThis is a low shrub, usually only 2-3’ tall. It has dark green, thick and leathery, evergreen leaves, making it easy to identify. The leaves taper strongly toward the tip and are not elliptical like many other shrub species. At most times of the year, flowers, buds, or capsules are visible on the twigs.
Taxonomic CommentsMost people probably recognize this entity as either Leucothoe editorum or Leucothoe axillaris var. editorum (RAB 1968 name). However, it has recently been shifted to a new name – L. fontanesiana.

Other Common Name(s)Mountain Doghobble, Switch-ivy, Drooping Leucothoe, Drooping Fetterbush
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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