Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Hairy Mock-orange - Philadelphus hirsutus   Nuttall
Members of Hydrangeaceae:
Members of Philadelphus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Hydrangeaceae
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AuthorNuttall
DistributionOnly in the southwestern portion of the state. Occurs in the Mountains north to Mitchell and McDowell counties, and east into the southwestern Piedmont foothills to Cleveland County.

This is a species of the Southern Appalachians and Ozarks. It ranges north only to southwestern VA and southern KY, and south to southwestern SC and central AL. The population in the Ozarks of AR might be a separate species.
AbundanceRare to locally uncommon, and somewhat restricted in habitat. This is an NC Watch List species.
HabitatThis species is restricted to somewhat cool and rocky forested bluffs and slopes, but only over mafic or calcareous rocks (i.e., circumneutral soils). It prefers mesic conditions, and may be found where there is seepage or along rocky creek banks. Other rare plants typically occur where this species is found.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Montane Hardwood Forests
PhenologyBlooms in April and May; fruits from June to August.
IdentificationThis is a fairly small to medium deciduous shrub that grows to 3-5’ tall. It has opposite ovate leaves with clearly toothed margins (except near the base) and a strongly curving side vein on each side of the mid-vein, which gives the two Philadelphus species a distinct look. The leaves reach about 2-2.5” long. This species has densely whitish to pale gray hairs on the lower side of the leaves, as well as hairy twigs, which give it a grayish/glaucous look at a distance and should help separate it from the other mock-orange, which may grow with it at some sites. Both species have large and beautiful white flowers, consisting of four petals, growing in small clusters at the branch tips; in this species, the open flower averages about 1” across, clearly smaller than P. inodorus. Hairy Mock-orange tends to bloom a week or more earlier than does its counterpart in the same region of the state.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Streambank Mock-orange, Cumberland Mock-orange
State RankS2
Global RankG5
State StatusW1
US Status
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