Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Fringed Loosestrife - Steironema ciliatum   (L.) Baudo
Members of Primulaceae:
Members of Steironema with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Family Primulaceae
Author(L.) Baudo
DistributionOccurs throughout the Mountains and Piedmont, almost certainly present in every county; scattered in the western and central Coastal Plain, mainly following brownwater rivers eastward from the Piedmont. Absent from the Sandhills proper.

This is a very widespread species from coast to coast, and it ranges southward to northern FL and OK.
AbundanceFrequent to common across the Mountains and Piedmont. Uncommon in the western Coastal Plain along brownwater rivers, but very rare to absent elsewhere, including the Sandhills region.
HabitatThis is primarily a wetland species, growing in bottomland hardwoods, along wooded stream banks, and on natural levee forests. It also grows on lower slopes or other rich forested slopes, such as Rich Cove Forests and Basic Mesic Forests. It is infrequent into mesic forest types.
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is the most widespread and often seen member of the genus, familiar to nearly all biologists. It grows mostly unbranched, to about 2 feet tall, but some plants can have branches in the upper portions. There are several pairs of opposite stem leaves, with a characteristically hairy/ciliate petiole of about 1/2-inch long. The leaf blade is lanceolate to narrowly ovate, about 4 inches long and 1-1.5 inches wide, essentially entire, abruptly tapered at the base, but with a pointed tip. From upper leaf axils grow one to several flowers in each, on slender pedicels often 1-inch long. Each flower is yellow, widely ovate, with a very distinct nipple tip; the 5 petals yield a flower about 4/5-inch across. The flowers face outward or often nod downward. As a plant in bloom can contain 10 or more flowers in bloom at one time, it is hard to overlook it. This species should be easily separated from all others in the genus solely by the leaves; look at the petiole, which is longer than in the others and is the only species with strongly hairy petioles. The leaf base, which is nearly truncate, can also be of help, as most others tend to have more tapered leaf bases. You should not have trouble finding this species in moist forests in the mountains and Piedmont.
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley (2020) has split out Steironema from Lysimachia based on a 2018 paper using molecular research; and in so doing has gone back to "old" taxonomy. In Lysimachia there are no staminodes and the leaves are punctate with elongate markings (vs. staminodes present and punctae absent in Steironema).
Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieAttleboro, MA, 1980s. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
Select a source
Select an occurrence type