Dwarf-flower Heartleaf (Hexastylis naniflora)
Hexastylis naniflora, sometimes called ‘heart-leaf’ is one of our SC natives that’s endemic only to small parts of NC and the upper piedmont of SC. It’s listed as a ‘threatened’ species due to it’s small range which is rapidly disappearing due to development. Although classified as a ‘perennial herb’ it’s an evergreen herb-layer plant for us in the Upstate. This interesting ground-cover native foliage is quite happy in the heat and humidity of our summers, and brings interest to the winter landscape. It’s happiest in acidic (<6.8) soil under the dappled shade of our oaks and only requires low to medium moisture under natural mulching with good drainage. It spreads by rhizomes and will form a colony in ideal conditions, and brings a much needed diversity to our partial shade landscapes. From a sustainability standpoint, this plant proves to be particularly beneficial in controlling rainwater run-off and uninvited weeds .
The species is listed as threatened by the Fish and Wildlife Service. It is a self-pollinating plant only within small populations, and it is believed that the species is becoming isolated on “islands” on atypical Piedmont soils, and it became evident that this dwarf-flowered ‘heartleaf’ is a narrow endemic and is being impacted by rapid development of the upper Piedmont.
SC Wildlife Federation: http://www.scwf.org/hexastylis