Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Guyandotte Beauty - Synandra hispidula   (Michaux) Baillon
Members of Lamiaceae:
Only member of Synandra in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Lamiales » Family Lamiaceae
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Author(Michaux) Baillon
DistributionOnly known from Swain County, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It does still occur (as of 2021) on the TN side of the park, not far from the NC line, based on several locations in iNaturalist.

This is an Ohio Valley and Tennessee Valley species, ranging from OH and southern IL, south to extreme western NC and far northern AL. It is not known from GA or SC.
AbundanceExtremely rare. Not well-known at present, owing to National Park Service data security concerns. It has been reported as being present at one site on the NC side of the park, up to around 2010. Thus, it is not known if it is currently present there or elsewhere in the park on the NC side. This is a State Threatened species, with a State Rank of S1, subject to change to SH.
HabitatThis is a species of Rich Cove Forests or other very rich soil, in montane forests, at middle to possibly higher elevations.
PhenologyBlooms from late April into May, and fruits from May into June.
IdentificationThis is one of the more spectacular spring wildflowers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and farther west. Sadly, hardly anyone has ever seen it in NC. It is mainly unbranched, growing to about 1.5 feet tall, with a quite hairy stem. The several pairs of opposite leaves are quite distinctive; they are strongly heart-shaped, with a distinct cordate base, a fairly long petiole, and a long tapering apex, with toothed margins. The blades are about 2 inches long and nearly as wide at the base. The top 4-5 inches of the stem consists of a leafy raceme of axillary flowers, each one quite large at about 1.5 inches long. Each flower is white, ascending and facing away from the stem, with a small hood and a wide open mouth; the lower lip has purple lines. Though each individual plant is striking when in flower, as it often grows in moderate stands, such a cluster of plants in bloom would be a very memorable experience. Biologists in NC need to find this species again in NC, whether it be from the Great Smoky Mountains NP or some other place, more than likely based on range in the southwestern tip of the state.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Synandra
State RankS1
Global RankG4
State StatusT
US Status
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