Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Saltmarsh Fleabane - Pluchea odorata   (L.) Cassini
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Pluchea with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(L.) Cassini
DistributionOuter Coastal Plain, Outer Banks, and other barrier islands. Ranges inland only to the upper ends of embayed waters of sounds and such rivers. In the 2023 edition of Flora of the Southeastern U.S. by Weakley et al., this species is split into 2 varieties, following a journal paper by Nesom in 2004. Specimen(s) from Perquimans County were not found at NCU in 2023.

MA to MI, KS, and NV, south to FL, TX, and CA; C.A., S.A.
AbundanceGenerally common to locally very common in estuarine habitats, including along the Outer Banks.
HabitatBrackish marshes, saline marshes, fresh-tidal marshes, and maritime wet grasslands.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-October.
IdentificationCamphorweeds are leafy plants about 2 feet tall with rather flat-topped inflorescences of pink, rosy, or dirty white heads. The vegetation has an unpleasant odor, often described as fetid. Saltmarsh Fleabane has dark to medium rosy heads (disk florets only) and short-stalked leaves (upper ones may be sessile). Leaves are somewhat succulent (thick-textured), but this character is best used in direct comparison with other species. The other Pluchea with short-stalked leaves -- Camphor Pluchea (P. camphorata) -- is generally taller, has more conical (rounded) inflorescences instead of flat-topped, and grows in freshwater marshes and other non-saline wetlands; its leaves are not fleshy. Saltmarsh Fleabane is an attractive and frequently seen plant of our brackish marshes.
Taxonomic CommentsIn older texts treated as P. purpurascens.

Other Common Name(s)Sweetscent, Shrubby Camphorweed
State RankS3? [S3S4]
Global RankG5
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