Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Rugel's Ragwort - Rugelia nudicaulis   Shuttleworth ex Chapman
Members of Asteraceae:
Only member of Rugelia in NC.
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
Show/Hide Synonym
AuthorShuttleworth ex Chapman
DistributionSouthern Mountains only. All known populations are in and near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Endemic to southwestern NC and southeastern TN.
AbundanceHighly localized in NC. Can be locally common to abundant in the higher elevations of the Smokies, near the TN state line. Rare more than perhaps 5 miles from the state line. However, because of its local abundance, the NCNHP ranks it at S3, and the NatureServe Global Rank is also G3. It is being tracked by the NCNHP as a Significantly Rare species.
HabitatSpruce-fir-birch and northern hardwoods forests, and openings in these forests. Mostly at high elevations, generally above 5000 feet.
See also Habitat Account for General High Elevation Forests
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-August.
IdentificationRugel's Ragwort grows 8 inches to 1.5 feet tall, from a few to several basal leaves that are ovate and tapered to long stalks. The 1-3 stems are leafless, except for bractlike leaves where short flowering branches attach. The inflorescence is rather cylindrical in outline, with short branches, each ending in a head (often nodding) of yellowish-white disk florets, without rays. Nothing else is quite like it at high elevations. You should not have trouble finding it close to the Appalachian Trail through the higher elevations of the park, where it can be one of the more numerous herbs.
Taxonomic CommentsThis is a monotypic genus: no other species are known. Formerly treated as belonging to Senecio or Cacalia, which actually emphasizes its unusual characters. Ferdinand Rugel collected prolifically in the NC mountains in 1841-42 and discovered many taxa new to NC and to science.

Other Common Name(s)Rugel's Indian-plantain
State RankS3
Global RankG3
State StatusSR-L
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
Owen CarsonSpruce Fir forest north of Black Rock Mountain JacksonPhoto_natural

View Mapping Selection Options
Select a source
Select an occurrence type