Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Littleflower Alumroot - Heuchera parviflora   Bartling
Members of Saxifragaceae:
Members of Heuchera with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Rosales » Family Saxifragaceae
AuthorBartling
DistributionRestricted to lower elevations in the Mountains and the Piedmont foothills ranges, eastward to include the Sauratown Mountains of Surry and Stokes counties. Possibly absent in a few counties in the far northern and far southwestern ends of the province.

This species occurs in the east-central states, mainly in the Mountains. It ranges from WV and southern MO south to northern GA and much of AL.
AbundanceUncommon to locally infrequent in the central and southern Mountains, southwest to Macon County. Rare and local in the upper Piedmont. Both of the varieties in the state are on the NCNHP's Watch List; thus, the full species is also.
HabitatThis species has a habitat that practically no other vascular plant has in the state! It is essentially found only in the full shade under the overhangs of rockhouses or ledges of large rock formations, but where dry and seldom wet with seepage. Other Heuchera species occur on rocks or in rocky places, but they are not in deep shade but where there is some sunlight reaching the plants.
See also Habitat Account for Montane Mesic Rock Faces and Crevices
PhenologyBlooms much later than all of the other Heuchera species except for H. villosa. It flowers from July to September, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a very easy alumroot to identify. Instead of widely rounded and strongly serrated margins with some small lobing like the others, in this species the basal leaves are considerably wider than long and are not sharply toothed. The margins are rather crenate or have low and rounded teeth, about 4-5 wide wide but only about 3-4 inches long. Otherwise, it has the slender and tall flowering stalk, to about 2-2.5 inches tall, with a narrow panicle of small downward-facing white flowers. In fact, compared with most of the other Heuchera species, the flowers are quite showy, though very small -- as the white petals far extend past the green calyx (sepals). To see this species, go to a state park in the foothills or lower mountains, and look under shaded rock overhangs.
Taxonomic CommentsThere are two varieties in the state. The widespread nominate one -- H. parviflora var. parviflora -- occurs in the central and southern mountains. On the other hand, the other is an NC endemic; H. parviflora var. saurensis is found only in the Sauratown Mountains and in Linville Gorge.

Other Common Name(s)Cave Alumroot
State RankS3
Global RankG4
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