Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America

Roan Mountain Bluet (Houstonia purpurea var. montana)

Roan Mountain Bluet. Credit: USFWS

Roan Mountain Bluet. Credit: USFWS

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).

map of Roan Mountain bluet distribution in North Carolina

Map of Roan Mountain bluet distribution in North Carolina.

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...

Species Contact:

Mara Alexander, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, 828-258-3939 ext. 238

Species profile revised on September 15, 2011.

Last Updated: November 1, 2012