Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Lanceleaf Bluet - Houstonia lanceolata   (Poiret) Britton
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Section 6 » Family Rubiaceae
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Author(Poiret) Britton
DistributionScattered in the southern Mountains only, based on specimen data. Not well known in the state, and apparently not well collected either, perhaps as it has usually been subsumed within H. purpurea or been considered as a variety of it until recently. Some references list it as H. calycosa.

This is a wide-ranging species, from ME to MO, and south in the Mountains to northern GA and eastern OK.
AbundanceApparently rare, but more survey work and collecting is needed to determine its true abundance. The NCNHP has ranked it as S1, and recently added it to its Significantly Rare list.
HabitatWeakley (2018) states (for the Southeastern states, not just for NC): "Calcareous prairies and barrens, dry woodlands, banks, rock outcrops, shallow soils around mafic and calcareous rock outcrops."
PhenologyBlooms from May to July, and fruits from July to August.
IdentificationThis species is very similar to the common and widespread H. purpurea, which see for general appearance. In H. lanceolata, the stem leaves are narrower, lance-shaped rather than widely ovate, about 1-inch long, but just 4-10 mm (averaging 1/4-inch) wide, about 3.3-6 times as long as wide; H. purpurea and H. montana have leaves of similar length as H. lanceolata, but they average 20 mm (about 4/5-inch) wide. Also, the calyx lobes in H. lanceolata are longer, averaging 4-7 mm long, as opposed to just 1-4 mm long in the other two. If you have plenty of experience with the quite common H. purpurea, you should immediately be struck by the more lance-shaped leaves of this species. Nonetheless, it is scarce in NC, and thus take care in the identification; hopefully your discovery of it lies in high pH soil.
Taxonomic CommentsSome references name this as a variety of H. purpurea, as var. calycosa or maybe as var. lanceolata. Some probably do not list it as a taxon at all.

Other Common Name(s)Midwestern Summer Bluet, Calycose Bluet, Venus' Pride (used for any species or taxon in the H. purpurea complex)
State RankS1
Global RankG5T5 [G5]
State StatusSR-P
US Status
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