Aureolaria pectinata

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Aureolaria pectinata
Aureolaria pectinata Gil.jpg
Photo was taken by Gil Nelson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Order: Lamiales
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Aureolaria
Species: A. pectinata
Binomial name
Aureolaria pectinata
(Nutt.) Pennell
AURE PECT dist.jpg
Natural range of Aureolaria pectinata from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Combleaf yellow false foxglove, southern oak-leech

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: A. pedicularia (Linnaeus) Rafinesque var. pectinata (Nuttall) Gleason; Gerardia pectinata (Nuttall) Bentham[1]

Varieties: none[1]


In the genus Aureolaria, the plants are either annual or perennial. They are parasitic on the roots of Quercus (oaks) and turn black when dried. The leaves are opposite or subopposite and branch from the upper portion of the stem (cauline). The flowers are showy, the calyx is 5-parted, the lobes can be shorter or longer than the tube. The flower is yellow in color, bilabiate, and 5-parted. The tube is bell-shaped with spreading lobes. There are 4 stamens, didynamous, and the filaments are flattened with the 2 longer more or less lanose. The anther sacs are basally awned. The stigma is capitate and protruding.[2]

Specifically, A. pectinata has opposite, fern like leaves which are pinnately incised with sticky glandular hairs.[3] It is a hemiparasitic plant that attaches modified roots to the roots of host plants, such as oaks.[4]

According to Radford (1964) A. pectinata is very similar to A. pedicularia. Wunderlin and Hansen (2011) recognize A. pectinata and do not recognize A. pedicularia.

A. pectinata is described to be very similar to and integrated with A. pedicularia. A. pectinata species usually have glandular-pubescent throughout the plant. The leaves are pubescent to villous, and some of the trichomes can be glandular. The capsule is ovoid and the base is enclosed in the calyx tube.[2]


Eastern Texas and Oklahoma to Missouri and eastward to the Atlantic Coast.[4]


This is a hemiparasitic species that has green tissue and preforms photosynthesis, but also obtains sugars and minerals from a host plant using modified roots (haustoria) to attach to the host.[5]


A. pectinata can occur in turkey oak sandhills, longleaf pine communities, upland hardwood forests, savannas, glades, stream banks and slash pineland.[6] [3]

Associated species include Pinus elliottii, Serenoa repens, Quercus geminata, Quercus myrtifolia, Quercus chapmanii, Liatris elegans, Liatris tenuifolia, and Salvia azurea (UF Herbarium).


A. pectinata has bisexual, yellow flowers that bloom spring, summer, and fall[4] from May to September; and from September to October.[2] The ovary is superior and fruits in a capsule summer and fall.[3] The flower buds have a reddish tip, while the calyx is densely hairy.[4]

Fire ecology

Studies have observed that A. pectinata does not occur in unburned sites, but does occur in burned sites[7]. Kush et al. (2000) found that A. pectinata occurred in biennially burned longleaf pine stands regardless of burning season. In Harrod et al. (2000) it was observed growing in a burned xeric hardwood site. Populations of Aureolaria pectinata have been known to persist through repeated annual burns on the Pebble Hill property in north Florida.[8]


Hummingbirds and bumblebees pollinate Aureolaria pectinata. [4]

Herbivory and toxicology

It is the larval host plant for the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas phaeton).[4]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Conservation status: Global: G5.[9]

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 957-8. Print.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 [Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia] Accessed November 30, 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 [Arkansas Native Plant Society] Accessed November 30, 2015
  5. [[1]]Arkansas Native Plant Society. Accessed: April 1, 2016
  6. [Missouri Department of Conservation] Accessed November 30, 2015
  7. (Harrod et al. 2000; Kush et al. 2000)
  8. Robertson, K.M. Unpublished data collected from Pebble Hill Fire Plots, Pebble Hill Plantation, Thomasville, Georgia.
  9. [NatureServe] Accessed November 30, 2015