Kalmia buxifolia (P.J. Bergius) Gift, Kron, & Stevens. Phen: Late Mar-Jun (sporadically to Oct); Sep-Oct. Hab: Locally abundant but very restricted in wet (spodosol) pinelands of the outer Coastal Plain (in Brunswick and Carteret counties, NC), locally common in relatively dry sandhills in a few locations in the Sandhills, disjunct in the Piedmont on a few quartzite monadnocks, fairly common in the mountains on rock outcrops at high to moderate elevations (on a wide variety of rock types). Dist: The species is curiously distributed, both in its overall range and within NC. Kalmia buxifolia is found in the Pine Barrens of NJ, the outer Coastal Plain of se. NC, the inner Coastal Plain (fall-line sandhills) of sc. NC and nc. SC, monadnocks of the upper Piedmont of NC, mountain peaks of NC and immediately adjacent nw. SC, ne. GA, and e. TN, and isolated in extreme e. PA (Monroe County) and in se. KY (on sandstone in Whitley County, in the Cumberland Plateau).
Origin/Endemic status: Endemic
Taxonomy Comments: Populations in the high mountains consist of very old, prostrate krummholz, the stems to 6 cm in diameter at the base, the branches spreading to cover at least a square meter. The disjunct distribution, various habitats, and subtle morphological variation between populations has led to periodic attempts to divide the species into two or more varieties or species, but the variability apparently cannot be successfully described taxonomically; it is here treated as a single species. See X, Y, and Q for detailed discussion of the various taxa recognized by various authors (within the genus Leiophyllum). Strand & Wyatt (1991) found a population from Hanging Rock, Stokes County, NC to be the most distinctive, but did not choose to give it formal taxonomic status.
Synonymy: = FNA8, K3, K4, Pa, Tn, Kron et al (2002); = Dendrium buxifolium (Bergius) Desv.; = Leiophyllum buxifolium (P.J.Bergius) Elliott – C, K1, W, Luteyn et al (1996), Strand & Wyatt (1991), Wilbur & Racine (1971); > Leiophyllum buxifolium (P.J.Bergius) Elliott var. buxifolium – F, RAB; > Leiophyllum buxifolium (P.J.Bergius) Elliott var. hugeri (Small) C.K.Schneid. – F, G, Pennell (1935); > Leiophyllum buxifolium (P.J.Bergius) Elliott var. prostratum (Loudon) Gray – RAB; > Leiophyllum hugeri (Small) K.Schum. – S; > Leiophyllum lyonii Sweet – S, Pennell (1935)