Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Swamp-candles - Lysimachia terrestris   (L.) Britton, Sterns, & Poggenburg
Members of Primulaceae:
Members of Lysimachia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Primulales » Family Primulaceae
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Author(L.) Britton, Sterns, & Poggenburg
DistributionEssentially statewide but with very large gaps. Nearly throughout the Mountains; scattered elsewhere downstate, mainly in the Coastal Plain.

This is a Northern species, ranging south to central SC and AL, but is scarce south of VA.
AbundanceInfrequent but somewhat widespread in the Mountains, but very rare in the Piedmont. Quite local in the Coastal Plain, infrequent to uncommon in the northeastern counties and the far southwestern ones, including the Sandhills; very rare elsewhere in the province.
HabitatThis is a wetland species, mostly of full sun in the mountains, where found in bogs and wet meadows. Elsewhere, it grows mostly in swamp openings and edges, in partial shade.
PhenologyBlooms from May to July, and fruits from August to October.
IdentificationThis is a familiar wildflower to mountain biologists, less so to those downstate. It has an erect stem to 2 feet tall, with numerous pairs of opposite leaves; these are lanceolate, entire, and about 4-5 inches long and 1-inch wide. The inflorescence is normally just a single terminal raceme, it being quite tall, typically 5-6 inches long. Many yellow flowers are present, and each petal has some red markings; the spread flower is about 1/2-inch across. As this species often grows in large stands, such a stand is unforgettable in bloom, and indeed the plants do look like "swamp candles" or "bog candles".
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Weakley (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)Bog-candles, Earth Loosestrife, Yellow Loosestrife
State RankS3
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieCentral NH, boggy woods, 1970s. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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