Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Ozark Bunchflower - Melanthium woodii   (Robbins ex A. Wood) Bodkin
Members of Melanthiaceae:
Members of Melanthium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Family Melanthiaceae
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Author(Robbins ex A. Wood) Bodkin
DistributionFound only at a single location along the Blue Ridge Escarpment in Polk County. This site had been known since 1953, and the population is still extant, having been seen in 2015 and possibly later. However, RAB (1968) does not mention the species, the taxon apparently having been sunk into Veratrum parviflorum at that time.

This is a Mississippi Drainage species, being found almost exclusively west of the Appalachians. It ranges from western OH to IA, and south to the FL Panhandle and eastern OK. It is known in Atlantic Coast states only from one site in NC, one site or county in adjacent SC, and much of GA.
AbundanceExtremely rare, known from a single site, an easterly disjunct from the main range west of the Appalachians. It is a State Threatened species.
HabitatIn NC, it is found on circumneutral soils of hardwood forested slopes; a species of very rich soils.
PhenologyBlooms in July in the state, and fruits in September.
IdentificationThis species has a growth form very much like that of the reasonably common M. parviflorum. Ozark Bunchflower has slightly narrower basal leaves than that species, they being elliptical or oblanceolate and about 2-3 inches wide instead of 3-4 inches wide. The main difference is flower color; this rare species has dark maroon to purple flowers, instead of olive-green in M. parviflorum. Thankfully, the species has its occurrence on State-owned land managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission; thus, it hopefully will survive without being lost to the development that is occurring on private lands in that general area of the county.
Taxonomic CommentsThis species was in the genus Veratrum for many decades, and some references might still place it there, with the name of Veratrum woodii. However, Weakley (2018) has both this species and the other (parviflorum) now in the genus Melanthium, with several white-flowered species.

Other Common Name(s)Wood's Bunchflower is also widely used.
State RankS1
Global RankG5
State StatusT
US Status
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