Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Piedmont False-pimpernel - Lindernia monticola   Muhlenberg ex Nuttall
Members of Linderniaceae:
Members of Lindernia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Scrophulariales » Family Linderniaceae
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AuthorMuhlenberg ex Nuttall
DistributionWidely scattered over the Piedmont, though essentially restricted to areas of granitic exposures; rarely in the southern Mountains. Does not occur in the central or northern Mountains, nor in the Coastal Plain.

This is a Southern species, ranging north to northern NC, and south to northern FL and west to AL. It does not quite range into VA or TN, though it is found in counties that border them.
AbundanceLocally uncommon in the northeastern Piedmont -- at least in the Rolesville Pluton area of Wake and Franklin counties. Otherwise rare in the Piedmont, and very rare in the southern Mountains. This is a Watch List species.
HabitatThis species has a very restricted habitat, in terms of acreage on the landscape. It is essentially limited to thin soil around the margins of granitic flatrocks, or granitic domes -- but normally where there is some seepage on the rocks. Thus, it is a "semi-wetland" species, mostly in damp areas, often in moss, on these smooth or rounded rock surfaces.
PhenologyBlooms from April to July, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a slender, often leaning, herb that has clumped stems at the base, growing on flatrocks and domes, reaching 1 foot tall. It does have small, rounded basal leaves, but these are somewhat insignificant for identification. Instead, the stem has only a few narrow, bract-like "leaves", but in reality the flowering stem is essentially leafless. There are a few branches in the upper portions, each bearing mostly solitary flowers, snapdragon-like with 2 upper lobes and 3 lower lobes. Each flower is about 2/5-inch long, mostly light violet-blue on the tubular portion and white on the lobes, thus presenting several pleasing blue and white flowers on very slender and "bare" stems. If the flowers are not present, the plants are so wiry-looking that you might not notice them at all. Though considered rather rare in the state, in actuality this is not really a rare plant if you spend time at a few granitic flatrocks and domes, though the species is certainly not present on all such outcrops.
Taxonomic CommentsMost recent references subsume the saxicola taxon into monticola, though RAB (1968) had L. saxicola as a full species, as does Weakley (2020). If saxicola is not considered valid, then an old record for Cherokee County would be added to the map below.

Other Common Name(s)Flatrock Pimpernel, Flatrock False-Pimpernel
State RankS2
Global RankG4
State StatusW1
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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Carol Ann McCormicksame data MontgomeryPhoto_natural
Carol Ann McCormickMontgomery County, Uwharrie NF, small hilltop glade, 2021. MontgomeryPhoto_natural
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