Polk County’s most wanted – plant

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 29, 2014


In a joint effort to expand the knowledge and understanding of the flora and fauna of Polk County, the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC) and David Campbell need your help in locating this month’s “Most Wanted-Plant,” French Broad Heartleaf, (Hexastylis rhombiformis).
French Broad Heartleaf is known to occur in deciduous woodlands, ravines, or bluffs that typically include a component of Mountain Laurel and/or Rosebay Rhododendron.  The leaves of this species of Heartleaf, like other members of the genus, are evergreen and leathery in appearance.  The flowers, emerging in Spring, are small and cryptically colored; sometimes obscured by the leaf litter in which they live.  Locally, these flowers are sometimes referred to as ‘Little Brown Jugs’ or similar names – an allusion to the appearance of the flowers.
French Broad Heartleaf is a species endemic to the southern Blue Ridge within North and South Carolina.  The only known counties of occurrence in North Carolina are Henderson, Polk, Buncombe, and Transylvania counties. Several sites are known within Polk County, but other, unknown sites are certainly possible.
If you think that you have seen this plant, or know where it might be located, please contact PAC at 828-859-5060, or e-mail comments, questions, or photos to, landprotection@pacolet.org (color photos available at the PAC website, http://pacolet.org/polk-countys-most-wanted-plants-animals/ (scroll to the bottom of the page)).
The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the flora and fauna in Polk County and document the species present in the county.
PAC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization (land trust) founded in 1989 to Protect and Conserve the area’s natural resources (PAC’s mission).  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property, preserving precious natural resources (open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, etc.), and potentially obtain significant federal, state, and local tax benefits.  PACs vision is a community living and growing in harmony with our natural resources and or goal is to provide a legacy that will endure and be valued by generations to come.  PAC works diligently to provide leadership to encourage conservation and provide education programs emphasizing native species appreciation and responsible land use practices to help – save the places you love.

– article submitted
written by David Campbell

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