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Shortia brevistyla (P.A. Davies) L.L. Gaddy. Northern Shortia. Phen: Mar-Apr; Jul-Aug. Hab: On moist slopes, creekbanks, and rock outcrops in humid escarpment gorges with high rainfall, generally in deep shade under Rhododendron maximum, at elevations of 350-550m. Dist: This species is known only from McDowell County, NC, where it occurs on several tributaries of the Catawba River and North Fork Catawba River. It has also been reported from the gorge of the Linville River, Burke County, but this locality is questionable and has not been relocated. This area is disjunct about 100 kilometers to the northeast along the Blue Ridge Escarpment from the range of the typic variety.

Origin/Endemic status: Endemic

Taxonomy Comments: In addition to the characters used in the key, S. brevistyla differs in a variety of characters of the flowers and leaves, as discussed in Davies (1952) and Hatley (1977). Gaddy et al. (2019) clarify that two taxa are warranted. Though the morphological characters are relatively minor and partially overlapping, their correlation with disjunct ranges and their likely influence on pollination and reproduction influence me to provisionally accept species rank, pending further research.

Synonymy: = K4, Gaddy et al (2019); = Shortia galacifolia Torr. & A.Gray var. brevistyla Davies – FNA8, K1, K3, Davies (1952); < Sherwoodia galacifolia (Torr. & A.Gray) House – S; < Shortia galacifolia Torr. & A.Gray – C, G, RAB, W, Hatley (1977), Scott & Day (1983)

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image of plant© Alan Cressler: Shortia galacifolia var. brevistyla, McDowell County, North Carolina 5 by Alan Cressler source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Shortia galacifolia var. brevistyla, McDowell County, North Carolina 6 by Alan Cressler source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Shortia galacifolia var. brevistyla, McDowell County, North Carolina 1 by Alan Cressler source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Shortia galacifolia var. brevistyla, McDowell County, North Carolina 4 by Alan Cressler source | Original Image ⭷

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