Houstonia montana Small. Phen: Jun-Jul; Jul-Aug. Hab: In crevices of rock outcrops at the summits of high elevation peaks of the Southern Blue Ridge, also in thin, frost-heaved, gravelly soils of grassy balds near summit outcrops, from 1250-1950 m in elevation. Dist: This species is endemic to the high Blue Ridge of nw. NC, ne. TN, and sw. VA, most notably occurring on Roan Mountain, Grandfather Mountain, Bluff Mountain, and Three Top Mountain. This species was recently found in sw. VA, at Grayson Highlands State Park, Grayson County (G.P. Fleming & K.D. Patterson, pers. comm., 2013).
ID notes: In addition to the characters given above in the key, H. montana also differs from H. purpurea in having larger calyx lobes, corolla, capsules, and seeds.
Origin/Endemic status: Endemic
Taxonomy Comments: It was first noted by Asa Gray in 1841, who described it as "a marked dwarfish variety". There has been debate over whether it is not indeed merely a weather-induced form, but recent studies show that it is distinct. See Terrell (1959), Yelton (1974), and Terrell (1978) for further discussion.
Synonymy: = S, W; = Hedyotis purpurea (L.) Torr. & A.Gray var. montana (Small) Fosberg; = Houstonia purpurea L. var. montana (Small) Terrell – K1, K3, K4, Tn, Terrell (1959), Terrell (1991), Terrell (1996); = n/a – C; < Hedyotis purpurea (L.) Torr. & A.Gray – Rogers (1987); < Houstonia purpurea L. – RAB