Little-known Rarity

Stopping on the roadside to photograph a showy member of the aster family, the gray-headed coneflower, I happened to see its shyer, rarer cousin the Cumberland rosinweed (Silphium brachium), also known as Gattinger’s rosinweed, in the dappled sunlight at the edge of the woods. Cumberland rosinweed is endemic to the South Cumberland Plateau — it grows nowhere else. Because of its narrow range, it  is listed as endangered, one of those plants that we must not let slip through the cracks to extinction. Named for Tennessee’s first state botanist Augustin Gattinger, this modest little plant is one to look out for — and look after — if you find it on your treks. I see it most often in somewhat shady spots at the edges of openings such as roadways and power line rights-of-way. IMG_6961

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