Hedyotis purpurea var. montana

Common Names:
mountain bluet, Roan Mountain bluet
(Small) Fosberg
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Michael Kunz
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
The North Carolina Arboretum
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The conservation of Hedyotis purpurea var. montana is fully sponsored.
Michael Kunz contributed to this Plant Profile.


Roan Mountain bluet is a rare endemic found on a few mountains in the Southern Appalachians. A member of the coffee family (Rubiaceae), Roan Mountain bluet produces heterostylus flowers (two different length styles). This species is a compact clump forming perennial herb and produces flat top clusters of one to four deep red-purple flowers from May to September. The flower color helps distinguish H. purpurea var. montana from the more common H. purpurea var. purpurea with flowers of blue-purple to white.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service recognize Roan Mountain bluet as a restricted variety of Hedyotis purpurea. While its morphological distinctness is clear, the taxonomic position is disputed (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1996). Roan Mountain bluet is also known as Houstonia montana. Noted by Asa Gray in 1841 as a dwarf form and described by J.K. Small in 1903 as Houstonia montana, taxonomic differences have ensued over the generic placement, altering between Hedyotis and Houstonia, and recognition at the varietal level or designation of full species rank. See Terrell (1959), Yelton (1974) and Terrell (1978) for more taxonomic information. The current opinion places Roan Mountain bluet as Houstonia montana (US Fish and Wildlife 1996, Weakley in preparation 2008).

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research