Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Oak Barrens Barbara's-buttons - Marshallia legrandii   Weakley
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Marshallia with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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AuthorWeakley
DistributionNorthern lower Piedmont only. So far as is known, confined to Granville County, NC, and Halifax County, VA -- just one large population in each state.

A tiny range -- endemic to the Piedmont of northern NC and southern VA.
AbundanceExtremely rare, known only from one current population, and one historical collection (1961) a few miles away. Population varies with canopy opening and fire, but several thousand plants are often present in a given year. In May 2021, it was listed as a State Endangered species; ought to be Federally listed at some point.
HabitatDry to moist soil underlain by mafic rock (diabase), within a matrix of deciduous-pine-cedar woodland -- i.e., a glade-like setting, including in an adjacent powerline clearing. The soil type is Iredell, prone to shrink-swell depending on moisture.
See also Habitat Account for Basic Barrens and Glades
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late May-September. Flowering is mainly from late May to mid-June.
IdentificationStems grow 2-3 feet tall and are unbranched. Lower leaves are long-stalked, lance-shaped and prominently 3-veined, gradually reduced upwards and sessile, but not extending into the upper quarter of the stem. Heads are solitary, pale to deep pink to whitish. Spoon-shaped Barbara's-buttons (M. obovata) is a shorter plant, with white flowers and more obovate or oblanceolate leaves; it blooms about two weeks earlier in the same county. A stand in full bloom is a memorable sight, considering that it is the only one available in the state!
Taxonomic CommentsOak Barrens Barbara's-buttons was newly described to science in 2012 (see Weakley & Poindexter) and named for Harry LeGrand, who discovered the large NC population in the 1980s and realized it was something different from M. grandiflora and M. obovata; he was a longtime Zoologist for the NC Natural Heritage Program, is an all-round naturalist, and is co-editor of this website.

Other Common Name(s)Tall Barbara's-buttons, LeGrand's Barbara's-buttons
State RankS1
Global RankG1
State StatusE
US Status
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USACE-emp
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Misty BuchannanGranville County, 2012, Picture Creek Diabase Barrens. GranvillePhoto_natural

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