Roan Mountain Bluet (Houstonia purpurea var. montana)
Family: Bedstraw (Rubiaceae)
Federal Status: Endangered, listed April 5, 1990
Best Search Time: June through July
Description: Roan Mountain bluet, found on exposed mountain-top habitat, is easily distinguished from other bluets by its relatively large reddish purple flowers, small oval leaves, and compact growth form. The funnel-shaped flowers blossom from late May through August or September, with peak flowering usually in June and July. The four main flower pollinators are small staphylinid beetles, bumblebees, syrphid flies, and ants. The fruits are small, nearly round, and open in late August through September. Roan Mountain bluet grows to approximately 8 inches (20.3 centimeters) tall.
Habitat: Roan Mountain bluet is found on rocky exposures at high elevations of 4,600 - 6,200 feet (1402 - 1890 meters).
Distribution: Roan Mountain bluet is known from high mountains in North Carolina’s Ashe, Avery, Watagua, and Mitchell counties.
Threats: Threats to Roan Mountain bluet come largely in three forms – commercial, residential, or recreational development at privately owned sites; and trampling of populations at accessible cliff or trail-side locations on public lands.
References:Buchanan, M.F. and J.T. Finnegan. 2010. Natural Heritage Program List of the Rare Plant Species of North Carolina. N.C. Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh, NC.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1996. Roan Mountain Bluet Recovery Plan. Atlanta, GA. 46 pp.
For More Information on Roan Mountain Bluet...
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Conservation Online System
- Roan Mountain Bluet Recovery Plan
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service Plants Database
- Center for Plant Conservation species profile
Mara Alexander, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, 828-258-3939 ext. 238
Species profile revised on September 15, 2011.