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Coptis trifolia (Linnaeus) Salisbury. Goldthread, Goldenroot, Three-leaved Goldthread. Phen: Apr-Jun. Hab: Bogs, northern hardwood forests. Dist: Greenland west to AK, south to NJ, nw. NC, n. IN, IA, and BC; e. Asia. Coptis had been reported for NC by many floras (for instance, C, F, G, and S), but the documentation was unknown; its presence in NC was confirmed by P. McMillan.

ID notes: The species is distinctive, with neatly trifoliolate leaves, small white flowers on scapes, and yellow roots.

Origin/Endemic status: Native

Taxonomy Comments: Infrataxa have sometimes been recognized, with var. groenlandica in e. North America northeast to Greenland, and in southern parts of nw. North America; var. trifolia in Alaska and e. Asia (see synonymy). There seems to be no compelling morphological or molecular reasons to recognize infrataxa (Xiang et al. 2016).

Synonymy: = FNA3, K1, K3, K4, Mi, NE, NY, Pa, S, S13, Xiang et al (2016); = n/a – RAB, Tat; > Coptis groenlandica (Oeder) Fernald – F, WV; > Coptis trifolia (L.) Salisb. ssp. groenlandica (Oeder) Hultén – G; > Coptis trifolia (L.) Salisb. var. groenlandica (Oeder) Fassett – C

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Wetland Indicator Status:

  • Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain: FACW
  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont: FACW
  • Great Plains: FACW
  • Midwest: FACW
  • Northcentral & Northeast: FACW

Heliophily ?: 3

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image of plant© Arthur Haines | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Arthur Haines | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Erik Danielson source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Erik Danielson source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Erik Danielson source | Original Image ⭷

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