Zenobia pulverulenta (Bartram ex Willdenow) Pollard. Phen: Apr-Jun; Sep-Oct. Hab: Pocosins, margins of pineland ponds. Dist: This monotypic genus is a narrow endemic of the Coastal Plain of se. VA, NC, SC, and e. GA (Bryan Co.).
ID notes: The crenate leaves help distinguish Zenobia from other pocosin shrubs.
Origin/Endemic status: Endemic
Taxonomy Comments: It was considered by Wood (1961) to have "no close relatives," but molecular phylogeny suggests that it is sister to Andromeda. The species is remarkably variable in leaf glaucescence. Many plants in the fall-line sandhills and upper Coastal Plain have the lower leaf surface, pedicels, and capsules covered in wax to the point that they are bright white; outer Coastal Plain plants generally lack any glaucescence. The recognition of two species (see synonymy) was based largely on this character; further study appears warranted.
Other Comments: The flowers are extremely fragrant. In the centers of major peat domes in the Outer Coastal Plain and in large Carolina bays in the Bladen Lakes region, where peat depths reach 3-5 meters, occur areas of up to 25 square kilometers dominated by Zenobia (sometimes codominant with Chamaedaphne or Sarracenia flava). This community has been referred to as "deciduous low pocosin," to distinguish it from the dominance of evergreen shrubs found in most pocosins.
Synonymy: = C, F, FNA8, G, GW2, K1, K3, K4, RAB, Va, Luteyn et al (1996); > Zenobia cassinefolia (Vent.) Pollard – S; > Zenobia pulverulenta (Bartram ex Willd.) Pollard – S