Ruellia purshiana

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Apologies for such a ratty photo of such an amazing little species – a southeastern US endemic, which, naturally, makes me love it even more. I was SHOCKED to find this plant growing in Madison County, NC of all places (arguably one of my top five favorite counties in the US). However, as I came to learn, it was inhabiting a rare dolomite outcrop of the southern Appalachians. Given that the genus as a whole ‘prefers’ high pH substrates in North America, its colonization of this particular patch of happy soil was not particularly surprising from an edaphic perspectie, even though its nearest neighbor populations are several counties away.

At any rate, a highly distinctive ENA endemic… solitary flowers on short peduncles with pubescent ovaries. Can’t be mistaken. Seen only once in the cellulose, with my good pal Mary Elizabeth Scherger.

Wild collected, USA, Tripp & Scherger #427 (DUKE); photo by Erin Tripp

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