Canby's Mountain-lover / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Canby's Mountain-lover (Paxistima canbyi)

A view of this leafy, low-growing evergreen shrub. Photo Credit: William Cullina
  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Celastraceae
  • State: KY, MD, NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV
  • Nature Serve ID: 140694
  • Lifeform: Subshrub, Shrub
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/04/1991

Paxistima canbyi is a low growing evergreen shrub that reaches 1-2 dm in height. It produces small green flowers with four sepals and four petals from March to April. The branches of this species spread out along the ground, sprouting wherever conditions are right. This leads to the formation of genetically-identical colonies.

Where is Canby's Mountain-lover (Paxistima canbyi) located in the wild?


Prefers partial shade in neutral clay soil associated with dolomite. Found on bluffs and slopes overlooking streams. (McCance and Burns 1984)


Historically, its range is from West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania to southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky. (McCance and Burns 1984)

States & Provinces:

Canby's Mountain-lover can be found in Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

Which CPC Partners conserve Canby's Mountain-lover (Paxistima canbyi)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

A regional endemic known from the central Appalachians of western Virginia, eastern West Virginia, western Maryland, and southern Pennsylvania, as well as from the Interior Low Plateau of central Kentucky, southern Ohio, and central Tennessee; a few occurrences are also known from the intervening Cumberlands/Southern Ridge and Valley region. Approximately 67 occurrences are believed extant, mostly in West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky. The number of genetic individuals may be very low, as a single genotype can comprise much or all of the occupied area at some sites. Euonymus scale (Unaspis euonymi) is a major threat in Kentucky , with more than 80% of occurrences found to be drastically declining in a recent statewide survey. The magnitude of this threat elsewhere in the range is as-yet undetermined; the scale is also known to occur in at least Virginia as well, although it has not yet been observed in other parts of the range such as Ohio. P. canbyi may also be declining (possibly severely) in West Virginia, presumably due to deer browsing. The species is protected from many other threats by the nature of its habitat; other minor impacts include quarrying, fires, indirect erosional impacts from nearby clearcutting, trampling, collecting, and grazing.

  • 01/01/2010

Threats include disturbance to cliff and slope habitats, trampling, rock climbing and soil compaction. Paxistima canybi can become uncommon as a forest canopy matures because it does not compete well in shaded habitat.

  • 01/01/2010

Current population sites and sizes are unknown.

  • 01/01/2010

None known.

  • 01/01/2010

None known.

  • 01/01/2010

Reintroduction methods and potential need to be explored.


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Taxon Paxistima canbyi
Authority A. Gray
Family Celastraceae
CPC Number 3077
ITIS 504148
Duration Perennial
Common Names Canby's mountain lover | Canby's mountain-lover | cliff-green
Associated Scientific Names Paxistima canbyi
Distribution Historically, its range is from West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania to southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky. (McCance and Burns 1984)
State Rank
State State Rank
Kentucky S2
Maryland S1
North Carolina SNA
Ohio S1
Pennsylvania S1
Tennessee S1
Virginia S2
West Virginia S2
Ecological Relationships


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