Sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium)

Plantae>Magnoliophyta>Magnoliopsida>Ericales>Ericaceae>Leiophyllum buxifolium (P.J. Bergius) Elliott

Sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium)

Sand-myrtle is a low shrub with an unusual distribution in North Carolina: it is uncommon in the Mountains, where it is found at higher elevations, very rare in the Piedmont, where found in montane settings on or near isolated mountains, and occasional in the southern Coastal Plain, where found in completely different habitat, wet pine woods. Various varieties have been described, but these are not currently recognized.

Brunswick Co., NC 8/28/10.

Leiophyllum is a monotypic genus closely related to Kalmia (the genus of Mountain-Laurel) and may in fact be better placed within Kalmia, as Kalmia buxifolia (P.J. Bergius) Gift, Kron, & Stevens.

Brunswick Co., NC 8/28/10.

Sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium)

The short, narrow leaves are untoothed. The leaves may be opposite, as here, or alternate.

Brunswick Co., NC 8/28/10.

Sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium)

Fruit capsules ripen during the summer.

Brunswick Co., NC 8/28/10.

Sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium)

Hanging Rock, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium)

Hanging Rock, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium)

Hanging Rock, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium)

The leaves here are alternate.

Hanging Rock, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium)

Base of a Sand-myrtle, showing the sprawling habit and branching pattern.

Hanging Rock, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium)

The bark is shreddy.

Hanging Rock, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

Sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium)

The Stokes County population grows on the slopes of a north-facing ravine with other montane plants.

Hanging Rock, Stokes Co., NC 6/14/09.

More information:
Native & Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas & Georgia
NC State
USDA PLANTS database

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All photographs and text ©2011 by Will Cook unless otherwise indicated.