Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Boykin's Lobelia - Lobelia boykinii   Torrey & A. Gray ex A.L. de Candolle
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Section 6 » Order Campanulales » Family Campanulaceae
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AuthorTorrey & A. Gray ex A.L. de Candolle
DistributionLimited to the southern portion of the Coastal Plain, known from only seven counties; most occurrences are from the clay-based Carolina bay region of Hoke, Scotland, and Robeson counties.

This is a Coastal Plain species, ranging from southern NJ to the FL Panhandle, and west to southern MS. The range skips over MD and VA.
AbundanceRare in the clay-based bays region, and very rare elsewhere in the southern Coastal Plain. This is a State Endangered species. The NCNHP database lists 10 records, of which three are historical, and thus this species could easily be considered to be S1 instead of S1S2.
HabitatThis is a species that is highly limited to small and isolated, rare wetland types. It grows mainly in cypress (Taxodium spp.) dominated clay-based bays, but also is found in a wet depression considered as a "cypress savanna" on Camp Lejeune in Onslow County.
PhenologyBlooms from May to July, and fruits from July to September.
IdentificationThis is one of three very similar Lobelia species with very slender stems and narrow leaves, quite different from most of the other more robust species. This is a very slender, erect species, smooth, and usually branched in the upper portion. It has scattered alternate leaves, short and very narrow, essentially filiform, about 1/2" long; they often drop before flowering, such that the stem can look almost naked when flowers are present. The raceme of flowers is quite open and about 4-6" long, with small light to medium blue flowers and a white center. In this species, the flower stalks are filiform but are noticeably longer than the equally filiform bract beneath it. This species has no bracteole, whereas the very similar L. canbyi and L. nuttallii do have bracteoles. The flowers of all three are similar, and each is about 1/3-1/2" long, most of that being the narrow floral tube, though they do have flaring lobes. Another key separating character is that L. boykinii leaves are filiform and barely measurable in width, and they usually drop by flowering; the other two have linear leaves (though barely 1/10" wide), but they are persistent through flowering. These characters, plus the habitat limited to ponded cypress stands, are easier to spot than are bracteoles, an almost microscopic character! Nonetheless, to find this species you likely will need to visit a clay-based bay, and hope that water levels are right.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS1S2
Global RankG2G3
State StatusE
US Status
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