Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Yellow Giant-hyssop - Agastache nepetoides   (L.) Kuntze
Members of Lamiaceae:
Members of Agastache with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Lamiales » Family Lamiaceae
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Author(L.) Kuntze
DistributionWidely scattered in the Piedmont and Mountains, with the main concentration of records from the northeastern Piedmont (Caswell to Warren counties and south to Wake County).

This is a Midwestern Species, occurring in an east-west band from the Atlantic to the Great Plains. Ranges from CT and NY west to southeastern SD, and south to northern AL and OK.
AbundanceThough the county map shows records for 15 counties, the species is very poorly documented at present and clearly is on the decline. Rare in the northeastern Piedmont, and very rare elsewhere in the Piedmont and Mountains. No known records for the northern Mountains and nearly all of the southwestern half of the Piedmont, even though these areas lie within the range. This is a Significantly Rare species. The NCNHP's State Rank of S1 was correct a few years ago, but a few new populations have recently been found. Their database contains 16 records, of which barely 10 are not historical, and several of these are in poor shape. Thus, the website editors have suggested the rank of S1S2.
HabitatThe rarity of the species can be explained by its limitation to high pH soil, derived from mafic or calcareous rocks such as gabbro, diabase, amphibolite, or limestone. However, it can occur on very rich soil or on drier soil, but almost always under a hardwood canopy. Mostly it is found in Basic Mesic Forest and Basic Oak-Hickory Forest communities, but it can be found along moist or rich openings or edges of such forests.
PhenologyBlooms from July to September, and fruits from September to October.
IdentificationThis is a very tall, robust herb, often growing to 5-6 feet high and occasionally even taller. It has a square stem like about all other in the family, usually with a few upright branches in the upper portions. It has numerous opposite leaves that are ovate to almost triangular, with a short petiole, and with obvious serrations; each leaf is about 3-3.5 inches long and about 2 inches wide. At the top of the stem and each branch is the flower cluster of about 4-5 inches long, a very dense "spike" of light yellow to creamy yellow flowers, each only about 1/5-inch long. Even though the flower color does not stand out at much distance, owing to the green color of the calyx and many bracts in the cluster "swamping out" the corolla color, the erect "candles" at the tips of branches are quite noticeable, especially where several to many plants grow together. The other species in the genus in NC -- A. scrophulariifolia -- is quite similar and should only be safely identified by range or when in bloom; it has pink or light pink to whitish flowers, and is essentially limited to the mountains. Sadly, few biologists have seen this spectacular species in the state.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS1 [S1S2]
Global RankG5
State StatusSR-P
US Status
USACE-agcpFAC link
USACE-empFACU link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieMoore County, 2010, steep N-facing slope at Deep River E of Carbonton Road bridge. MoorePhoto_natural

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