Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Common Silkgrass + - Pityopsis nervosa   (Willdenow) Dress
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Pityopsis with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Family Asteraceae
Author(Willdenow) Dress
DistributionCoastal Plain and Sandhills, rare in the Piedmont; scattered in the southern and central Mountains. Absent from the most of the northern Piedmont and northern Mountains.

DE to southern OH and central AR, south to southern FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceFairly common to common in the Coastal Plain and Sandhills; rare to uncommon in the Mountains and Piedmont parts of the range.
HabitatDry to mesic Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass savannas, flatwoods, and sandhills, oak-hickory-pine woodlands, and various sandy openings and edges; ridgetop pine-heath and openings in Mountains.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-October. Responds well to recurring fire.
IdentificationCommon Silkgrass is our largest and most robust silkgrass, the stems typically 1.5-2.5 feet tall and basal leaves 6 inches to a foot long and 10-20 mm wide. Heads are larger and showier than in our other species: about an inch across, with the involucre 9-14 mm high. Populations usually grow amid patches of basal leaves. Note the lack of stalked glands on the upper stem and inflorescence branches.
Taxonomic CommentsFormerly treated as P. graminifolia var. latifolia; NatureServe still uses this designation. Older references (RAB 1968 and others) treated it as Heterotheca nervosa.

In the understanding of the genus Pityopsis, great strides were made in the monograph by Semple and Bowers (1985, with keys, drawings and maps). Very recently, Bridges and Orzell (2018) revised some of the Florida taxa, based on examination of type specimens and lengthy field work (includes keys, maps). Finally, Nesom (2019) produced a synopsis of the genus (with full synonymy, keys and maps). Note that the taxonomic concepts of these authors, Weakley (2020, 2022), and us do not always agree; therefore, readers are encouraged to get familiar with these works and also get to know well your local plants.
Other Common Name(s)None specifically, but often simply named as Silkgrass.
State Rank[S5]
Global RankG5T5? [G5?]
State Status
US Status
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B.A. SorrieSame data. CumberlandPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieCarver's Creek SP, sandy roadside, Oct 2010. CumberlandPhoto_natural
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