Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Carolina Redroot - Lachnanthes caroliniana   (Lamarck) DandyOnly member of Lachnanthes in NC.
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Section 5 » Family Haemodoraceae
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Author(Lamarck) Dandy
DistributionFound throughout the southern half of the Coastal Plain, including the Sandhills region. Sparingly present in parts of the northern Coastal Plain.

This is a Southeastern species essentially limited to the Coastal Plain. It occurs from MA to southern FL and west to eastern LA.
AbundanceCommon in much of the southern half of the Coastal Plain, and specimens have been collected in all such counties. Rare in the northern Coastal Plain, where specimens are known only from Nash and Bertie counties.
HabitatThis is a species of wet or damp, sunny ground. It favors margins of pools and ponds, shores of impoundments, wet savannas, pocosin borders, scrapes, and ditches, generally in acidic soil. In the Sandhills it can be very numerous on exposed bottoms when impoundments are drawn down.
PhenologyBlooms from June to early September; fruits from September to November.
IdentificationThis highly colonial species grows to about 1.5 feet tall, and it has the upper third of the stem quite woolly white in color, making it easy to identify at any distance. The basal leaves are very iris-like, growing with an edge facing the stem, and ranging to 12-15 inches long but only 1/2-inch wide. There are a few small stem leaves, but basically the stem is rather naked except for the fairly broad inflorescence. The many flowers in this corymb are about 1/3-inch long and are woolly white on the outside and yellow on the inside. This flower "head" is somewhat hemispherical in shape, rounded to flattened at the top and about 4 inches across. This is a conspicuous species to anyone who spends much time in the savannas, flatwoods, and other mostly pinelands in the southern half of the Coastal Plain; not only is the top part of the plant frosty-hoary in appearance, the plants usually grow in extensive, monoculture stands.
Taxonomic CommentsThis is a monotypic genus, with no other Lachnanthes species. There has been confusion or controversy about the specific epitaph spelling. Weakley (2018) mentions that it was originally written as "caroliana" when described, but this seems to be a spelling error that is correctable. So, some references use L. caroliana but apparently L. caroliniana is the correct spelling, as so many other species are named with this epitaph.

Other Common Name(s)Redroot, Bloodroot (the primary common name for Sanguinaria canadensis)
State RankS4
Global RankG4 [G5]
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
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B.A. SorrieSame data. ScotlandPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, Crawford Lake, exposed bottom, Aug 2012. ScotlandPhoto_natural

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