CPC Plant Profile: White-wicky
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Plant Profile

White-wicky (Kalmia cuneata)

This is a closeup of the plant, commonly known as white wicky. Photo Credit: W.S. Justice
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Ericaceae
  • State: NC, SC
  • Nature Serve ID: 161229
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/25/1988

White wicky is endemic to the southeastern coastal plain, historically found in seven counties in North Carolina and three in South Carolina. Today, it is found at forty locations in all seven historically known counties North Carolina, but only one location in a single county in South Carolina. Although the range of this species is similar to its historical range, most of the currently known populations are confined to only a small part of the former range. (TNC 1998) This species is unique among members of the Kalmia genus, as well as the Ericaceae family, because its leaves are deciduous, not evergreen. Before falling off in the autumn, these deciduous leaves turn a brilliant shade of scarlet red. This species grows to a height of 3 or 4 feet and produces clusters of dainty white flowers with faint red marks inside them around the first of June. Causes of this decline, and continual threats, include habitat loss due to coastal land development, conversion to agriculture or silviculture, and fire suppression. (USFWS 2002). Because of this, the species is considered rare by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and listed in Appendix II of CITES. The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was set up by the IUCN to address the international trade in wildlife, which processes billions of dollars annually while causing massive declines in the numbers of many species of animals and plants. CITES is a voluntary agreement among countries, and signatory countries to CITES act by banning commercial international trade in an agreed list of endangered species and their products and by regulating and monitoring trade in others that might become endangered. Species that are on Appendix II, such as Kalmia cuneata, are considered to be threatened with extinction if international trade continues. This designation places no pre-determined limits on the commercial export of the species, but does require permission from the country of export. (USFWS 2002)

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Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Kalmia cuneata is known from over forty element occurrences in North Carolina and one in South Carolina. Habitat loss due to land development, conversion to agriculture or silviculture, and fire suppression are the main threats to this species.

  • 01/01/2010

Loss of habitat due to land development, conversion to agriculture or silviculture, and fire suppression. Loss of habitat from drainage of the water systems that this species depends upon. (USFWS 2002).

  • 01/01/2010

Forty occurrences in North Carolina and one in South Carolina (USFWS 2002).

  • 01/01/2010

None known.

  • 01/01/2010

None known.

  • 01/01/2010

Firebreaks built along streamhead pocosins that keep fire from reaching this plant and its habitat should be allowed to fill in so fire can again return to the habitat. Growing season burns every three to five years are recommended for populations of this species to maintain habitat. (USFWS 2002)


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Taxon Kalmia cuneata
Authority Michx.
Family Ericaceae
CPC Number 2382
ITIS 23675
Common Names white-wicky | whitewicky
Associated Scientific Names Kalmia cuneata | Chamaedaphne cuneata
Distribution Seven counties in North Carolina, one county in South Carolina. (USFWS 2002)
State Rank
State State Rank
North Carolina S3
South Carolina S2

Found in the moist ecotones between longleaf pine communities and streamhead pocosins (linear shrub-swamps along small creaks and headwater stream branches) in the sandhills of Carolina. (USFWS 2002)

Ecological Relationships

Pollinated by bees. Frequent fire disturbance is important in maintaining the habitat that this species requires (TNC 1998).

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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