Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Virginia Stickseed - Hackelia virginiana   (L.) I.M. Johnston
Members of Boraginaceae:
Only member of Hackelia in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Lamiales » Family Boraginaceae
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Author(L.) I.M. Johnston
DistributionNearly throughout the Mountains and Piedmont foothills, but only a few scattered records elsewhere in the Piedmont, and disjunct to Martin County in the north-central Coastal Plain.

This is a widespread species in the Northeast and Midwest, ranging from eastern Canada south to northern GA and northeastern TX.
AbundanceRare to locally uncommon in the Mountains and foothills ranges. Very rare into the northeastern Piedmont, mainly near the VA border, and known from just one site in the Coastal Plain. Though quite numerous over the VA Piedmont and Mountains, it is legitimately scarce in NC. Though it has been recorded from 23 NC counties, many are old records, and thus a State Rank of S2 is perhaps justified, though the website editors think that S2S3 is more realistic for the extent of its range in the state. This is a Significantly Rare species.
HabitatThis species favors high pH soils in NC, mostly in mesic conditions in upland habitats. It grows in Basic Oak-Hickory Forests, Basic Mesic Forests, in some barrens and glades, and also along borders and in openings in such forests and woodlands.
PhenologyBlooms from June to September, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a fairly tall herb, reaching about 2 feet tall, rarely to 3 feet tall, with several branches. It has a few large basal leaves, on long petioles (a few inches), with an ovate to elliptical blade that is 5-6 inches long and 2 inches across; however, these have withered by flowering time. There are a number of alternate stem leaves, each being narrowly oblong and about 4 inches long. The wide open and large inflorescence consists of mostly horizontal "racemes" along the ends of the branches, with small white flowers (with 5 lobes) evenly spread along the axes (which can be 4-5 inches long). The flowers are followed by small, brown prickly fruit that hang downward below the raceme axis; these fruit stick to clothing. Though the flowers are quite small, the many long and horizontal racemes of flowers followed by prickly/hooked fruits are quite distinctive.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Stickseed, Beggar's-lice (a very poor name that often refers to Desmodium species)
State RankS2 [S2S3]
Global RankG5
State StatusSR-P
US Status
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