Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Appalachian Yellow Asphodel - Narthecium montanum   (Small) C.H. Grey
Members of Nartheciaceae:
Only member of Narthecium in NC.
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Section 5 » Family Nartheciaceae
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Author(Small) C.H. Grey
DistributionFormerly present only at one known site -- the East Flat Rock Bog in Henderson County, but the site has long been drained, and since no one has seen it in the past 50 or more years, it is considered extinct. In recent years, the NC plant was split off as a separate species from N. americanum (essentially only now in NJ), and thus the taxon known as N. montanum has not been seen anywhere in many decades and is assumed extinct.

As mentioned above, the range of N. montanum was limited just to the one montane site in southwestern NC. The range of the very similar (formerly thought to be conspecific) N. americanum, is currently only the Pine Barrens of southern NJ; it formerly occurred in DE and the Coastal Plain of SC.
AbundanceOf historical occurrence in NC; considered extinct. Its legal status is State Special Concern - Historical.
HabitatFormerly occurred in a single montane bog (perhaps others?).
PhenologyBloomed in June and July, and set fruit in August and September.
IdentificationThe species has a cluster of very narrow basal leaves that grow to about 6 inches tall. The flowering scape is roughly 1 foot tall, with numerous bright yellow to golden-yellow flowers on a dense raceme on the upper 2-3 inches of the stem. Each flower, with six narrow tepals, is about 1/2-inch across. Thus, when in bloom, a stand of these, as seen at a number of wet places in the NJ Pine Barrens, is a memorable event, turning the wetland into a golden-yellow sea in late June or July. Thus, to see Narthecium now, you will need to make a trip to New Jersey in early summer to catch them in bloom. Weakley (2018) states "It is still possible that it will be relocated in bogs in Henderson or Transylvania counties, NC"; nonetheless, it is best to consider it gone (SX and GX as is currently ranked) until proven otherwise.
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley (2018) says that N. montanum differs from N. americanum "based on its longer, more slender pedicels [flower stalks], larger sepals, petals, and stamens, and smaller capsules."

Other Common Name(s)Yellow Asphodel (the name assigned to Narthecium americanum)
State RankSX
Global RankGX
State StatusSC-H
US Status
USACE-empFACW link
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B.A. SorrieImage is N. americanum, taken at boggy streamside, Martha, NJ, early July 1989. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC

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