Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Bearded Grass-pink - Calopogon barbatus   (Walter) Ames
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Section 5 » Order Orchidales » Family Orchidaceae
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Author(Walter) Ames
DistributionScattered over the southern half of the Coastal Plain, including the eastern part of the Sandhills. Ranges north to Craven and Harnett counties.

This Southern species is limited to the Coastal Plain, from southeastern NC to southern FL, and then west to LA.
AbundanceRare to locally uncommon in the coastal counties from about Onslow County to Brunswick County. Generally rare farther north to Croatan National Forest (Craven, Jones, and Carteret counties) and inland to the eastern Sandhills (Harnett, Hoke, and Cumberland counties on Fort Bragg).
HabitatThis is a classic pine savanna species. It also can be found (rarely) in sandhill seeps and streamhead ecotones, but it normally is found in high diversity Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) savannas, and rarely in wet pine flatwoods.
PhenologyBlooms mainly from March into early May. Fruits mainly in May. It generally blooms earlier than the other three Calopogon species in the state.
IdentificationThis is one of the shorter-stalked orchids in the state, with the flowering stalk usually only 6-15 inches tall. The raceme contains only 3-5 flowers and is rather crowded, with the flowers fairly close to each other. The rose to pink flowers are about 1 inch across and tend to open simultaneously, an important identification character. Other Calopogon species in NC, except C. multiflorus, have flowers opening mostly one at a time, from the bottom of the stalk up. Leaves are rather insignificant and are not useful in identification. When you are walking in a pine savanna in early spring, such as in March or April, you may run into this species, especially as others flower later in April or into May. Look for the flowers all blooming about the same time, and the crowded flower cluster.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS3
Global RankG4?
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B.A. SorrieWet savanna, Holly Shelter Game Land. 1995. PenderPhoto_natural
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