Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Dense-spike Blackroot - Pterocaulon pycnostachyum   (Michaux) Elliott
Members of Asteraceae:
Only member of Pterocaulon in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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Author(Michaux) Elliott
DistributionSouthern Coastal Plain, absent from the Sandhills. Ranges north to Beaufort County.

Coastal Plain, NC to southern FL and southern AL.
AbundanceFairly common on average; can be locally common; uncommon in the northern portions of the range.
HabitatDry to mesic Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass savannas and flatwoods, Loblolly Pine woodlands; occasionally in abandoned fields. Typical of somewhat mesic soils -- not overly dry and sandy, but not a wetland species.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting late April-June.
IdentificationBlackroot has a unique form, with the stems winged with tissue decurrent from leaf bases, and the terminal, thick, flowering "cone-like" spike. The upper surfaces of leaves are green, the undersides white with short cottony hairs. The narrow creamy white heads form a dense spike with no ray florets. Plants grow 1-2.5 feet tall. This is a "strange-looking" plant, looking nothing like other composites; it seldom grows in colonies or patches, but rather mostly as scattered individuals.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Pineland Wingstem, Fox-tail Blackroot, Coastal Blackroot. Though there are other members of the genus in the Neotropics, it is usually just called "Blackroot" in the field in the Carolinas.
State RankS3
Global RankG5
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US Status
USACE-agcpFACU link
USACE-empFACU link
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B.A. SorrieCarolina Beach SP, dry flatwoods, late Sept 2017. New HanoverPhoto_natural
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