Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Standing-cypress - Ipomopsis rubra   (L.) Wherry
Members of Polemoniaceae:
Only member of Ipomopsis in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Solanales » Family Polemoniaceae
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Author(L.) Wherry
DistributionLimited now to the Sandhills region, and adjacent areas east to Harnett, Cumberland, and Robeson counties. Formerly occurred in the southwestern part of the state (Henderson and Rutherford counties), but now apparently historical there. Presumed not natural from Craven County. There has been much discussion whether this species is native to NC. However, Porcher and Rayner (2001) state, at least referring to SC, that it "is a native that has adapted to ruderal sites as fire-suppression has reduced woodland openings."

This is primarily a species of OK and TX, as well as much of FL, but with many scattered records east to NC, SC, and GA.
AbundanceDeclining, if not strongly declining, with essentially all SERNEC specimens from several decades ago. Now, rare in the Sandhills, very rare slightly east of them, and probably absent elsewhere now. The NCNHP considers it as a Watch List species, and if they truly believe that it is a native species, it should be tracked as Significantly Rare.
HabitatThis species requires sandy places in NC, at least in the Coastal Plain. It occurs along sandy roadsides, pine/scrub oak sandhills, and sandy Carolina bay rims. As some records are clearly from roadsides and disturbed sandy areas, this further raises the question of natural provenance in the Carolinas.
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits from August to September.
IdentificationThis is a unique species in the area, looking like nothing else. It has a tall and rather stout and erect stem, reaching about 3 feet tall. Along this stem are dozens and dozens of alternate leaves, each highly divided into filamentous segments (almost like a dog-fennel [Eupatorium spp.]), such that the stem at a distance looks almost leafless but with a very cobwebby appearance. The top 1/3 of the plant -- often about 1 foot tall -- is the narrow panicle of dozens of tubular red flowers, with 5 slightly flared corolla lobes that have small yellow dots on them. Each flower is nearly 1-inch long, and they extend horizontally in all directions from the stem; the flowers can be dull red to even yellow. As mentioned above, these plants, when in leaf or in bloom, simply seem out of place in NC, and few locations seem to be in completely natural habitats. But, many or most botanists do claim it is native in the Carolinas, and thus it is a showy member of the Sandhills flora.
Taxonomic CommentsIt has been considered as Gilia rubra in some references.

Other Common Name(s)Scarlet Gilia, Texas Plume, Spanish-larkspur
State RankS1S2
Global RankG4G5
State StatusW7
US Status
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B.A. SorrieRichmond County, 2017, Marston, roadside edge of thicket, E side US 1 just N of the Rhus michauxii population. RichmondPhoto_natural

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