Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Mountain Andromeda - Pieris floribunda   (Pursh) Bentham & Hooker
Members of Ericaceae:
Only member of Pieris in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Ericales » Family Ericaceae
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Author(Pursh) Bentham & Hooker
DistributionOccurs at scattered sites in the Mountains and a few western Piedmont monadnocks. Mainly found in the southern Mountains, especially at high elevations.

This is a southern and central Appalachian endemic, being found only north to northern VA and eastern WV and south to the extreme northeastern corner of GA (allegedly). It has apparently not yet been found in adjacent SC.
AbundanceRare to uncommon across its NC range, but can be rather numerous at high elevations in the southern Mountains close to the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Great Balsam and Pisgah ranges. Very rare to locally absent from this province north to several monadnocks in Stokes and Surry counties. It is considered a State Watch List species.
HabitatThe species is rather specialized in habitat and is limited mostly to sunny and exposed rocky summits, heath balds, and margins of granitic domes. It does well on roadcuts and roadbanks, at high elevations in the southern mountains, as long as they are rather rocky and in full sun.
PhenologyBlooms in May and June; fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is a rather low, but widely branched, evergreen shrub, with narrowly elliptic to lanceolate leaves that are crenate but nearly entire; it reaches mostly 3-5 feet tall. If the inflorescences – which grow as luxurious terminal racemes of small white urn-shaped flowers – are not seen, the species can often be identified by its thick and dark green leaves with a tapered tip – narrower (leaves) than similar species such as Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia). The exposed, sunny and rocky habitat is often helpful in eliminating some similar species.
Taxonomic CommentsEssentially none. The most similar relative occurs in Japan, though a vine species of Pieris occurs as far north as coastal SC.

Other Common Name(s)Evergreen Mountain Fetterbush, Mountain Pieris, Mountain Fetterbush (used for Eubotrys recurvus). Mountain Andromeda is not a widely used common name, and not as frequently used as is Mountain Fetterbush, but the website does not allow two species with the same common name. In reality, the species does not have a common name that has really stuck among many references and field guides.
State RankS2S3
Global RankG4
State StatusW1
US Status
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