Thursday, November 1, 2012

Plant Quiz Solved: Canby's Mountain Lover (Paxistima canbyi)

Way to go, John!  This is indeed Canby's mountain lover or cliff-green (Paxistima canbyi).  This rarity is endangered here in Ohio and can only be found on a few limestone bluffs in the Ohio Brush Creek watershed in Highland and Adams counties.  Famous botanist and ecologist E. Lucy Braun theorized that both populations are clones of great age that migrated up the ancient Teays River valley eons ago.

Canby's mountain lover is quite rare throughout the entirety of its range and is currently under consideration for federal listing.  Other than Ohio, it grows in select areas of south-central Kentucky and along the southern Appalachians from Pennsylvania down through the Virginia's and into Tennessee.  The small, linear leaves are evergreen and the overall growth pattern is a low, branching shrub.  Plants flower in March-April and sometimes again in the fall.  Fruit has never been observed on Ohio's plants due to their clone origin.

Thanks to all who gave it a whirl and another congrats to John for identifying this fascinating rarity!

While I am certainly not short on topics to share, I am short on the necessary free time it takes to do so.  I figured in the mean time I could keep things from stagnating further with a quick and fun plant quiz!  Just take a look at the photograph below and leave a comment with your best guess!  Thanks to all who decide to play along and best of luck!

What vascular plant am I?