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Schwalbea americana Linnaeus. Chaffseed. Phen: (Late Apr-) May-Jun; Aug. Hab: Pine savannas, sandhill-pocosin ecotones (in the uphill portions), mesic loamy-soil slopes or swales in longleaf pine and hills, fire-maintained interior woodlands and barrens. Dist: Formerly rather widespread in e. North America, primarily in the Coastal Plain, from e. MA, south to c. peninsular FL and west to TX, and disjunct in the Cumberland Mountains of KY and TN. The species is now limited to a few scattered sites in MA, NJ, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, and LA, a small portion of its former distribution. It appears to require high fire frequency, especially during the growing season, perhaps related to its establishment ecology.

Origin/Endemic status: Native

Taxonomy Comments: Ward (2012a) defended the recognition of two varieties, albeit without much detail or discussion.

Other Comments: The tiny seeds are hyaline-winged.

Synonymy: = C, F, Fl7, FNA17, G, GW2, K1, K3, NE, NY, RAB, Tat, Tn, Tx, Va, WH3; > Schwalbea americana L. – Pennell (1935); > Schwalbea americana L. var. americana – K4, Ward (2012a); > Schwalbea americana L. var. australis (Pennell) Reveal & C.R.Broome – K4, Ward (2012a); > Schwalbea australis Pennell – S, Pennell (1935)

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Wetland Indicator Status:

  • Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain: FAC
  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont: FACU
  • Northcentral & Northeast: FACU

Heliophily: 9

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image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan M. Cressler | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan M. Cressler | Original Image ⭷

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