Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Allegheny Brookfoam - Boykinia aconitifolia   Nuttall
Members of Saxifragaceae:
Only member of Boykinia in NC.
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Saxifragaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
DistributionPresent over most of the Mountains, but of spotty occurrence in the central and southern counties. Ranges eastward into higher elevations of the western Piedmont.

This is a southern Appalachian endemic, ranging from WV and southeastern KY to northern GA and northern AL. It is surprisingly rare to absent in eastern TN and western NC close to TN; most TN records are from the Cumberland Mountains.
AbundanceInfrequent in the northern Mountains south to Mitchell County, and again infrequent in the southern Blue Ridge Escarpment area from Polk County west to Clay County. Very rare to rare in the central and southern Mountains in ranges along or near the TN state line (for unknown reasons). Very rare in the far western Piedmont. The NCNHP considers this as a Watch List species, though it probably is not scarce enough to merit such a listing.
HabitatThis species "needs its feet wet", and thus occurs in cool waters in shaded habitats. It is found along shaded creeksides, in seepages in cove forests, near waterfalls, and in other places where the ground is quite damp and somewhat shady.
PhenologyBlooms in June and July, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a medium-sized herb, growing to about 1-1.5 feet tall. It has a few basal leaves, which are on petioles about 3 inches long, and the blades are wider than long and strongly divided (to the middle) into about 5-7 lobes, with strongly serrated margins. These leaves average about 3 inches wide and 2 inches long, and resemble small versions of the leaves of Trautvetteria. There are just a few stem leaves, alternate and similar to the basal leaves in shape, but smaller. The top of the stem contains the inflorescence, which is a rather narrow panicle or cyme, of white flowers in scattered clusters. There tends to be a flat-topped look to the upper clusters. There are 5 elliptic petals, each about 1/8-inch long, and thus the spread flower is about 1/4-inch wide. This is the only species of the genus in the East, and thus there really are no similar species, though the overall aspect of the plant, with a fairly flat inflorescence on top, may resemble a saxifrage species. In general, it resembles a runt Trautvetteria plant, but that species has no petals and the flowers are essentially comprised of numerous white stamens and pistils in a radiating wheel-like appearance. Both species can be found in similar damp places along montane seepages and creeks, with the taller species being much more common.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Brook Saxifrage, Eastern Boykinia, Aconite-saxifrage. The common name is often written with a hyphen (Brook-saxifrage), as it is not a true saxifrage (most now in the genus Micranthes). Allegheny Brookfoam seems to be a relatively newly coined common name, but it has taken off, used now by a great many websites and references.
State RankS3
Global RankG4
State StatusW1
US Status
USACE-agcpFACW link
USACE-empFACW link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Select a source
Select an occurrence type