Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Elliptical Rushfoil - Croton willdenowii   G.L. Webster
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AuthorG.L. Webster
DistributionPiedmont, southern low Mountains, Sandhills, and a few other Coastal Plain sites.

CT and PA to IL and KS, south to northern FL and TX.
AbundanceIn the Piedmont, quite local and mostly restricted to flatrocks and other exposed rocks, though can be common at such limited sites. Rare and local in most of the parts of the state, except mostly absent over the Coastal Plain and northern and central Mountains.
HabitatXeric, nutrient-poor sandy soil of granitic flatrocks, glades, openings in pine-oak woodlands, and (rarely) in sandy disturbed areas. It thus has an odd array of different habitats, in different soil pH (some acidic but some circumneutral), though all are in thin soil.
See also Habitat Account for General Dry-Xeric Glades and Barrens
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-October.
IdentificationElliptical Rushfoil is a diminutive, very slender plant that nonetheless has a certain charm, with its narrow, silvery leaves (whitish beneath) and stem and tiny red-brown spots (at the center of each stellate hair). It reaches only 1 foot tall, with a few widely scattered alternate stem leaves that are narrowly elliptical to oblong; there are a few wide-spreading branches, but most leaves on them are near the tips, opposite or often whorled. The several inflorescences are small and are mostly at the branch tips. C. michauxii (Crotonopsis linearis) is very similar and occurs north to Horry County, SC and rarely in Brunswick County, NC. It differs in its longer flower spikes (>1 cm long vs. <5mm) and less dense stellate hairs on upper leaf surface (see Weakley key).
Taxonomic CommentsSynonyms include Croton michauxii var. elliptica and Crotonopsis elliptica.

Other Common Name(s)Glade Rushfoil, Willdenow's Croton. No single name has been adopted, in part owing to being shifted between several genera.
State RankS3
Global RankG5
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