Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Harbinger-of-spring - Erigenia bulbosa   (Michaux) Nuttall
Members of Apiaceae:
Only member of Erigenia in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Apiales » Family Apiaceae
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Author(Michaux) Nuttall
DistributionThis is a fairly recent addition to the NC flora, with collections from Graham County (2011) in the Mountains and Caswell County (1991) in the northern Piedmont; and a second record from Graham County in 2013.

This is a Midwestern and Ohio Valley species, ranging east to western NY and northern GA, and west to southeastern KS. There are a few additional Piedmont records from MD and central VA.
AbundanceVery rare in Graham County, and extremely rare (if still present) in the far northern Piedmont. This is a State Threatened species.
HabitatThis is a species limited to high pH soils over mafic rocks or very rich alluvium. It grows in Rich Cove Forests and Basic Mesic Forests, and perhaps adjacent floodplain forests, in NC.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
PhenologyBlooms very early, from February to May, and fruits shortly after flowering. This is a classic spring ephemeral species, seldom seen above ground after late April or early May.
IdentificationThis is a quite familiar species in the Midwestern states, but sadly it is poorly known in the Atlantic states. This is a tiny species, rarely reaching 5-6" tall after flowering (but often just 2-3" high when flowering), usually with 1-2 leaves that are divided into pinnate sections, each section barely 1/4" long and with rounded and narrow "fingers". A few very small white-flowered umbels are present at the end of the stem, each one barely 1/3-1/2" across. However, the purple color of the anthers is quite striking against the white petals. To find this gem of a species in NC, you must work rich forests in early spring and carefully look at tiny fern-like plants barely 2-3" tall!
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Pepper-and-salt
State RankS1
Global RankG5
State StatusT
US Status
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