CPC Plant Profile: Mountain Golden-heather
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Plant Profile

Mountain Golden-heather (Hudsonia montana)

This shot shows the low, needle-leaved mountain golden heather, with yellow flowers, in situ. Photo Credit: E. LaVerne Smith
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Cistaceae
  • State: NC
  • Nature Serve ID: 150303
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/09/1992

The golden heather represents a wonderful case of an endangered species where threats to its very existence became tools to help save it. There are very few of these plants left and hikers and rock-climbers passing through the species' habitat were damaging many of the remaining populations. Not only did the local government of Burke County give its support behind conserving this species but also a local rock-climbing group offered to help publicize the need to protect the plants in their newsletter in the hope that this would reduce the risk of trampling by rock-climbers in the area (USFWS 1980c). An additional aid in protecting this heather is that the remaining populations are all on public land within the Pisgah National Forest where they can be protected now that the species has been listed as federally endangered (USFWS 1980b)

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Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

A narrow endemic of two adjacent counties in western North Carolina, where it is restricted to local, unusually dry habitats. There are seven known populations, five of them along the rim of a single Blue Ridge Escarpment gorge. Barring regional or global climate change, and provided the populations are reasonably protected from rock climbers and hikers (a proposed trail, since re-routed, would have cut directly through two of the populations), the species could persist indefinitely at these few sites. However, historical fire suppression and visitor impacts continue to be threats.

  • 01/01/2010

Fire suppression Trampling by hikers and rock-climbers (Nature Serve Explorer 2002)

  • 01/01/2010

34 plants at Table Rock, Burke County, NC unknown number of plants at Chimneys, Burke County, NC unknown number of plants at Chimney Gap, Burke County, NC unknown number of plants at Shortoff Mountain, Burke County, NC 20 plants at Woods Mountain, McDowell County, NC 4 plants at Singecat Ridge, McDowell County, NC There are seven known populations, five of them are along the rim of a single Blue Ridge Escarpment gorge, and they contain a total of 2,000 to 2500 individuals. (Nature Serve Explorer 2002, paper in file dated 2/91)

  • 01/01/2010

Gross et al. (1998) have researched ways to reduce the threats to this species while developing management protocols for it.

  • 01/01/2010

Critical habitat was established in Burk Co., NC at the time of listing (F.R. 1980) Paths have been rerouted to avoid fragmenting populations and to keep foot traffic away from the plants (2/91 paper)

  • 01/01/2010

Monitoring of the remaining populations to determine the population status at each site and to learn more about the natural history of this species and how potential threats may impact various life history stages. (F.R. 1980) Shrub removal from habitat (F.R. 1980)


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Taxon Hudsonia montana
Authority Nutt.
Family Cistaceae
CPC Number 2280
ITIS 22276
Common Names mountain golden-heather | mountain goldenheather
Associated Scientific Names Hudsonia montana | Hudsonia ericoides ssp. montana
Distribution Burke and McDowell Counties in western North Carolina
State Rank
State State Rank
North Carolina S1

Shallow soils that form over quartzite or mica gneiss rock ledges, it is usually in the sparsely vegetated ecotone between bare rock and heath bald. (NatureServe Explorer 2002)

Ecological Relationships


Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Bee flies Bee flies Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Self Only Not Specified Link
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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