Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Coastal Plain Small Spreading Pogonia - Cleistesiopsis oricamporum   P.M. Brown
Members of Orchidaceae:
Members of Cleistesiopsis with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 5 » Family Orchidaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
AuthorP.M. Brown
DistributionLimited to the Coastal Plain, but its exact range within it is not well known, owing to some confusion with other entities in the genus. The BONAP map shows it ranging north only to Craven and Harnett counties; mapped records for Montgomery and Iredell counties are open to question. However, there is a recent (2021) photo on Facebook Carolina Flora for Beaufort County, where both it and C. divaricata occur at the same site (Voice of America Site A). Note that this species and C. bifaria were included within a larger C. divaricata until earlier in the 21st Century.

This species ranges north only to eastern NC, and south to central FL. It ranges westward in the Gulf states to eastern LA.
AbundanceSomewhat less widespread and numerous than C. divaricata, being mostly uncommon, to locally infrequent in some savannas. It is apparently rare in the Sandhills region. Its main area of occurrence lies in the pine savanna region from Croatan National Forest (Craven and Carteret counties) southward near the coast through Brunswick County. The NC NHP considers it, and the other two Cleistesiopsis species, as a Watch List species.
HabitatThis species is primarily found in high-quality Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) savannas, such as at Green Swamp in Brunswick County. It is also found in the Sandhills region and elsewhere in sandhill seepages. The larger C. divaricata also occurs in the same habitats and can be found growing very near this species.
PhenologyBlooms from April into July, and fruits mainly in June and July. Weakley (2018) notes that this species flowers on average about 10 days earlier than does C. divaricata when occurring at the same sites.
IdentificationThis is a small "spreading pogonia", growing mostly just to 1 foot tall, with a single narrow leaf growing from the middle of the stem. The single flower is noticeably smaller than that of C. divaricata, which may grow in the same savanna with it. The three spreading sepals are narrow and brown-purple, but only average about 1.5 inches long, at best, as opposed to often 2 inches long in the other species. The floral tube composed of the three petals and the lip is often white to very pale pink, shorter and paler than that of C. divaricata. This tube may be just 1 inch long or slightly longer, notably shorter than for C. divaricata. Thus, the flower, though quite attractive and "large", is not as spectacular and brightly colored as is that of C. divaricata. Lastly, if you are inclined to smell fresh flowers, and have a good sense of smell, this species has almost odorless flowers whereas C. divaricata has flowers with a daffodil-like scent. The third member of the genus -- C. bifaria -- grows only in the mountains and western Piedmont, and thus its range does not overlap that of the other two.
Taxonomic CommentsThis species was split off from the old C. divaricata and was formally described only early in this century, as was C. bifaria. Thus, this species has apparently never been known as a Cleistes.

Other Common Name(s)Small Coastal Plain Spreading Pogonia. It seems better to call the duo of C. bifaria and C. oricamporum as the "Small Spreading Pogonias", whereas C. divaricata is the Large Spreading Pogonia. Therefore, these first two should retain the three words in this order, and a modifier should be added in front to separate the two. In this case, a region or province name is used as the modifier -- Appalachian for bifaria and Coastal Plain for oricamporum.
State RankS2S3
Global RankG3?
State StatusW7
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieHarnett County, Fort Bragg, Northern Training Area, streamhead ecotone. HarnettPhoto_natural
Select a source
Select an occurrence type