Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

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Key to Ericaceae, Key D: Evergreen ericaeous shrubs (either tall or obviously clonal) and trees

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1 Leaves linear, needle-like, either appearing whorled (at least in part, sometimes also with nodes appearing opposite or alternate) or opposite (Calluna).
..2 Leaves opposite, sessile and clasping; [exotic, rarely naturalized]
..2 Leaves whorled (at least in part), petiolate; [either native or exotic and rarely naturalized].
....3 Leaves densely puberulent and ciliate with gland-tipped hairs; leaves 1.5-5 mm long; [exotic, rarely naturalized]
....3 Leaves glabrous; leaves 3-15 mm long; [native].
......4 Leaves 5-15 mm long; shrubs 5-25 dm tall; drupes red, 1.5-2 mm in diameter; [of SC southward]
......4 Leaves 3-6 mm long; shrubs 1.5-6 dm tall; drupes gray, 1-1.5 mm in diameter; [of NJ northward]
1 Leaves broader, alternate (or whorled or opposite in some Kalmia).
........5 Leaves (all of them) < 2 cm long.
..........6 [Either of the Mountains, the Piedmont, or the Coastal Plain of ne. SC and se. NC and northwards].
............7 Leaves alternate, glabrous, finely serrulate
............7 Leaves alternate or opposite, stipitate-glandular or glabrous, entire, or with a few obscure teeth
..........6 [Of the Coastal Plain, from se. SC southward].
..............8 Twigs densely hispid; leaves hispid on both surfaces
..............8 Twigs glabrous to puberulent; leaves glabrous or with scattered inconspicuous hairs.
................9 Plant glaucous and bluish-green throughout; leaf undersurface lacking scattered glandular hairs; [of s. GA south to s. peninsular FL, west to e. TX]
................9 Plant dark green throughout, generally exceeding 20 mm in length; leaf undersurface with scattered glandular hairs, these sometimes very few by late in the season (best seen in the field by folding a leaf, holding the fold up to the light, and using a 10× lens); [of se. SC southward to n. FL, west to s. AL]
........5 Leaves (at least the larger) > 3 cm long.
..................10 Leaves toothed, at least toward the tip of the leaf (note that fine serrations or crenations can be obscured by revolute margins).
....................11 Leaves elliptic to oblanceolate, widest near or above the middle, obtuse, acute, or short-acuminate, 1.5-7 cm long, 0.5-2.5 cm wide; leaf serrations fine and obscure; leaf surfaces with small stipitate glands (Pieris) or lepidote with scales (Chamaedaphne).
......................12 Leaves lepidote with scales; leaves oblanceolate, widest above the middle
......................12 Leaves with small stipitate glands, otherwise appearing glabrous; leaves elliptic, widest near the middle.
........................13 Inflorescence a many-flowered panicle of racemes, borne terminally; seeds 2.5-3 mm long; [of slopes and ridges of the Mountains and upper Piedmont]
........................13 Inflorescence a 3-9 flowered raceme, borne in the axils of upper leaves; seeds ca. 1 mm long; [of wetlands of the Coastal Plain, often associated with Taxodium ascendens]
....................11 Leaves lanceolate or ovate, widest below the middle, short-acuminate to acuminate, 4-15 cm long, 1-5 cm wide; leaf serrations generally obvious (at least toward the acuminate leaf tip); leaf surfaces glabrous, or with non-stipitate hairs on the lower surface.
..........................14 Pith transversely diaphragmed; [pedicels slender, 7-10 mm long]; [filaments strongly curved just below the anthers]
..........................14 Pith solid; [pedicels stout, 2-6 mm long]; [filaments straight].
............................15 Leaves obtuse or acute to short-acuminate; staminal filaments almost always with at least a few unicellular hairs; calyx lobes ovate-triangular to ovate or widely so, 1.2-2.3 mm wide; racemes 0.9-5.5 cm long, with 8-44 flowers; sepals ovate, with an obtuse or rounded apex; longest petioles 2-10 (-11) mm long; [of the Coastal Plain and lower Piedmont]
............................15 Leaves long-acuminate, petiole (5-) 6-16 mm long; staminal filaments merely papillose; calyx lobes ovate or ovate-triangular to oblong-triangular, 0.7-1.6 mm wide; racemes 2-10 cm long, with 17-80 flowers; longest petioles 8-15 mm long; [of the Mountains and upper Piedmont]
..................10 Leaves entire.
..............................16 Leaves densely pubescent beneath, either whitened beneath by a dense mat of fine white hairs or brown tomentose with coarse and twisted hairs; leaves strongly revolute
................................17 Leaves linear; leaf undersurface whitened beneath by a dense mat of fine white hairs
................................17 Leaves lanceolate or narrowly elliptic; leaf undersurface brown tomentose with coarse and twisted hairs
..............................16 Leaves glabrous, glabrescent, or lepidote with scales, appearing green or brownish; leaves planar, slightly revolute or strongly revolute.
..................................18 Leaves densely lepidote on the under surface with brown scales.
....................................19 Leaves planar, not revolute; petioles 7-20 mm long; twigs more-or-less terete in cross-section; [of the Mountains, Piedmont, and upper Coastal Plain].
......................................20 Corolla mostly 15-20 mm long, the corolla tube (9-13 mm long) shorter than to as long as the corolla lobes (12-18 mm long); plant flowering early relative to R. minus, despite occurring at higher elevations and more northern latitudes; seeds ovoid, < 1.0 mm long, < 2.5× as long as wide (reminiscent of tiny watermelon seeds), coarsely textured, unornamented at the ends; calyx lobes deltoid; [of mountain ridges, heath balds, and rocky summits, mostly either away from the Blue Ridge Escarpment or north of the Asheville Basin]
......................................20 Corolla mostly 25-37 mm long, the corolla tube (13-22 mm long) longer than the corolla lobes (8-12 mm long); plant flowering late relative to R. carolinianum; seeds usually > 1.0 mm long, usually > 3× as long as wide, ornamented at one or both ends; calyx lobes ovate; [of the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Mountains, in the Mountains mostly of the Blue Ridge Escarpment of sw. NC and nw. SC, ranging in elevation up to the higher granitic domes in Macon and Jackson counties, NC].
........................................21 Leaf apices mostly obtuse to rounded; petioles 2-6 (-7) mm long; branches erect and rigid; seeds moderately to elaborately ornamented with flared protrusions at both ends; [of n. FL]
........................................21 Leaf apices mostly acute to acuminate; petioles (5-) 6-20 mm long; branches spreading, not notably erect and rigid; seeds somewhat ornamented at one end; [of c. GA northward]
....................................19 Leaves slightly to strongly revolute (or nearly planar in Lyonia fruticosa); petioles 1-7 mm long; twigs angled in cross-section; [of the lower Coastal Plain, from se. SC southward].
..........................................22 Ultimate branches not rigidly ascending, flowers nearly always restricted to branches of the previous year, the leaves not conspicuously reduced toward the branch tips; leaves with distal margin usually revolute, sometimes strongly so; major veins usually depressed; lower leaf surface with some scales often large and with irregular margins, others smaller and more nearly entire, at least the smaller scales more-or-less persistent; [shrub or small tree to 6 (-10) m tall]
..........................................22 Ultimate branches rigidly ascending, flowers frequent on branches of the current year (though also on older growth), the leaves conspicuously reduced toward the branch tips; leaves with distal margin at most slightly revolute; major veins not depressed; lower leaf surface with scales usually all large and with irregular margins, the scales often deciduous; [shrub to 1.5 (-3) m tall]
..................................18 Leaves not lepidote beneath (Lyonia lucida with scattered minute scales on young leaves).
............................................23 Leaves whorled or rarely opposite.
..............................................24 Calyx lobes glandular-canescent and with marginal stipitate glands; leaves glabrous beneath; bracts and bracteoles densely glandular; stomates 18 μ long and 13 μ wide, 15-24 per 0.2 square millimeter; shrub to 1 (-1.2) m tall; [of ne. NC northward]
..............................................24 Calyx lobes canescent but lacking glands; leaves short puberulent beneath; bracts and bracteoles nearly glandless; stomates 13 μ long and 9 μ wide, 35-51 per 0.2 square millimeter; shrub to 2 m tall (though often much shorter); [of se. and sw. VA southward]
............................................23 Leaves alternate.
................................................25 Leaf blades (8-) 10-30 cm long, 3-9 cm wide, rounded to obtuse at the tip.
..................................................26 Leaves rounded at base (rarely broadly cuneate or slightly cordate), obtuse at apex; leaf generally 1.5-2.5× as long as wide; corolla usually deep pink to purple; sepals 0.5-1 mm long
..................................................26 Leaves cuneate at base, acute at apex; leaf generally 3-5× as long as wide; corolla usually white to pale pink; sepals 4-6 mm long
................................................25 Leaf blades 2-10 (-12) cm long, 1-5 cm wide, acute, short-acuminate (or obtuse or rounded in Cyrilla) at the tip.
....................................................27 Leaf with a prominent vein running the length of the margin, about 1 mm in; [shrub to 4 m tall]
....................................................27 Leaf venation not as above; [shrub to small tree] {Kalmia latifolia, Cyrilla, Cliftonia, Bejaria}

Key to Pieris

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1 Inflorescence a many-flowered panicle of racemes, borne terminally; seeds 2.5-3 mm long; [of slopes and ridges of the Mountains and upper Piedmont]; [subgenus Pieris, section Pieris]
1 Inflorescence a 3-9 flowered raceme, borne in the axils of upper leaves; seeds ca. 1 mm long; [of wetlands of the Coastal Plain, often associated with Taxodium ascendens]; [subgenus Pieris, section Phillyreoides]