Where is Flowering Pixie-moss (Pyxidanthera barbulata)
located in the wild?
Pyxidanthera barbulata is found in droughty, acidic sandy soils under an open or thin canopy of pines. Although it is typically described from xeric habitats, the plant is termed a facultative wetland associate (USDA 2001), and listed with keys to aquatic and wetland plants (Godfrey and Wooten 1981). Wells and Shunk (1931) record it from "coarse sand areas of low relief having a high water table for extended periods alternating with depressed water table in drought years." Thus, the plant can tolerate a broad range of hydrological conditions. The morph occupying xeric environments was once thought to be a separate species or variety (brevifolia) from P. barbulata (Wells and Shunk 1931, Kral 1983), but other treatments recognize this variation as intraspecific plasticity and circumscribe the populations as one species (Primack and Wyatt 1975).
On Long Island, Pyxidanthera barbulata occupies the back-dunes of the southern back-barrier of the moraine, in stands of scattered pitch pine, Pinus rigida.
In the coastal plain of New Jersey, the plant is typically found in the dwarf pine plains of the eastern Pinelands, characterized by pitch pines under 3 m tall, along with blackjack and scrub oak (Quercus marilandica and Q. ilicifolia), with a sparse understory layer of sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), sweet fern (Comptonia peregrina), sand-myrtle (Leiophyllum buxifolium), wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens), and patches of broom crowberry (Corema conradii) and false heather (Hudsonia ericoides) (Good et al. 1979, Obee 1994).
Pyxidanthera barbulata is noted from tracts containing the northernmost longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) in the east (Sheridan et al. 2001), and occurs on xeric, thinly wooded, sterile sands under longleaf pine in mainland and barrier beach areas of North Carolina (Harper et al. 1997).
In South Carolina, the species is recorded from the sandhills region.
Pyxidanthera barbulata occurs from southern Long Island to South Carolina along the coastal plain. Its distribution appears somewhat disjunct, as there are no current or historical records for the taxon.
States & Provinces:
Flowering Pixie-moss can be found in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia