Habitats of North Carolina
Habitat Group:
Habitat Type:
Members of General Shrublands:
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General Shrublands
Sweetleaf Thickets
No image for this habitat.
General Description Thickets of Sweetleaf (or Horse Sugar) occur in a wide variety of land forms, soil types, moisture regimes, and fire frequencies. They are most common in the Coastal Plain, where they range from peatland edges to fairly dry sandhills. They also occur in bottomlands, mesic slopes, bluffs, and ridgetops over most of the state (see Weakley, 2015; LeGrand and Sorrie, 2019).

The main habitat requirement for the insect members of this group is the presence of Sweetleaf, the sole host plant of their larvae. All three of the known Symplocos specialists occur across the entire geographic range of Sweetleaf in North Carolina, but it is not clear whether they all occupy the entire range of ecological conditions that support their host plant.

Abiotic Factors
Biotic Structure
Co-evolved Species Groups Phagic and Competitory Symbioses:
Symplocos tinctoria // Cenopis lamberti-Morrisonia triangula-Satyrium kingi

Determining Species
Taxa Global RankState RankProbability of Extirpation (PE)
Cenopis lamberti GNRS2S40.0058
Morrisonia triangula G3G4S3S40.0020
Satyrium kingi - King's Hairstreak G3G4S3S40.0020
Symplocos tinctoria - Common Sweetleaf G5S50.00
Expected Number of Extirpations with a PE value (Sum of PE) = 0.0098
N = Number of Extant Species with a PE value = 3
Average PE = ENE/N = 0.0033
Number of S5 species = 1
Proportion of Secure Species = Number of S5 Species/N = 0.3333
Habitat Risk Index = ENE x (1 – PSS) = 0.0065

Estimated Risk to the Determining Species
Estimated Security of the Habitat
Index of Habitat Imperilment
Identified Risks
Observed Trends
Distribution Map
Distribution Symplocos itself has an odd distribution and range of habitat characteristics. King's Hairstreak, the best known insect member of this habitat appears to have a low constancy, occurring regularly at some sites but never seen at others. The same may also be true of the two moth members of this habitat, although there is currently too little data to determine their actual frequencies of occurrence or their abundance.
Major Conservation Reserves
Priority Areas for Surveys and Conservation Protection
Stewardship and Management Recommendations
Updated on 2022-01-01 00:25:21