Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Three-leaved Rattlesnake-root - Nabalus trifoliolatus   Cassini
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Section 6 » Family Asteraceae
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DistributionMostly Mountains and outer Coastal Plain, with a few records in between.

Lab. to Ont., south to GA and TN.
AbundanceInfrequent to fairly common in the Mountains, but generally rare to uncommon (and local) in the lower Coastal Plain. Very rare in the Piedmont, mainly near the Blue Ridge Escarpment.
HabitatMesic pine-oak-hickory woodlands and forests, openings in the same habitats; forest margins and roadsides; moist soils of pine flatwoods, pocosin edges.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-October.
IdentificationRattlesnake-roots are characterized by nodding heads of ray florets only, alternate leaves that are roughly triangular and irregularly lobed and/or toothed, and milky juice. Three-leaved Rattlesnake-root grows 2-5 feet tall and has pale yellow or straw-colored pappus (feathery hairs attached to seeds) and pale yellow, cream-colored, or whitish florets. From N. altissimus it differs in its leaves relatively thick-textured (vs. thin) and greater than 8 florets per head (vs. less than 8). From N. serpentaria it differs in the lack of hairs on the involucre bracts. Also, its lower leaves are palmately 3-5 lobed and with angular lobes and sinuses (vs. pinnately lobed and with rather rounded sinuses and lobes in N. serpentaria).
Taxonomic CommentsThe outer Coastal Plain records were formerly treated as Prenanthes alba ssp. pallida.

Other Common Name(s)Gall-of-the-earth
State RankS4? [S4]
Global RankG5
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