Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Piedmont Roseling - Cuthbertia rosea   (Ventenat) Small
Members of Commelinaceae:
Members of Cuthbertia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Family Commelinaceae
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Author(Ventenat) Small
DistributionPresent only in the southwestern part of the Piedmont, known only from three counties along the SC border -- Rutherford, Cleveland, and Mecklenburg.

This is a species centered around SC, ranging north barely into the southern Piedmont of NC, and south to central FL and eastern AL.
AbundanceApparently rare in its very limited range in NC, but more information is needed. The NCNHP only considers it as a Watch List species, though with a State Rank of S1?, this website recommends it be moved to the Significantly Rare list.
HabitatThough the species within its range occurs in sandhills and other dry or sandy woods, there are no sandhills in the Piedmont of NC, and thus the state's habitats are mostly openings and edges of dry or other upland woods. Several recent collections from Mecklenburg County were from the top and upper portions of a dry ridge.
PhenologyBlooms from May into July, and fruits shortly after blooming.
IdentificationThis small species is very similar to Cuthbertia graminea, which is common farther east in the Sandhills of NC. It has a cluster of numerous narrow leaves growing to about 6 inches long and about 1/3-inch wide, wider than on the very narrow leaves of C. graminea. The leaves of C. rosea also tend to be more spreading than on C. graminea, which has stiffer and more erect leaves. The flowering stalk is around 9-12 inches tall, topped by a handful of bright rose flowers that are about 2/3-inch across. The three petals are wide and the effect when viewed from above is of a rose-colored triangle. There seems to be little current information on the present-day status of this species in the state; most of the specimens are 50 or more years old. At least, when the species is in bloom, despite its small size, it is not easy to overlook owing to the bright rose flowers.
Taxonomic CommentsFor most of the last century this species was placed in the genus Tradescantia. Both of these two Cuthbertia species were essentially included within one entity and named as Tradescantia rosea. In RAB (1968), this taxon was listed as T. rosea var. rosea, and the other as T. rosea var. graminea. Obviously, in recent years these two have been pulled out of Tradescantia. Some current references now move these two to a different genus -- Callisia (i.e., Callisia rosea). This website follows Weakley (2018) and uses Cuthbertia.

Other Common Name(s)Common Roseling
State RankS1?
Global RankG5
State StatusW7 [SR]
US Status
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B.A. Sorrie.Photo taken in southeastern GA, about 2000. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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