Crocanthemum carolinianum

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Crocanthemum carolinianum
Helianthemum carolinianum Gil.jpg
Photo was taken by Gil Nelson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Violales
Family: Cistaceae
Genus: Crocanthemum
Species: C. carolinianum
Binomial name
Crocanthemum carolinianum
(Walter) Michx.
HELI CARO dist.jpg
Natural range of Crocanthemum carolinianum from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Carolina frostweed; Carolina sunrose

Taxonomic notes

Synonym: Helianthemum carolinianum (Walter) Michaux

Varieties: none


Crocanthemum carolinianum is a perennial herbaceous species.

Generally, for the Crocanthemum genus, they are erect, heraceous or suffrutescent perennials with alternate, stellate-pubescent leaves. There are two types of flowers, chasmogamous and cleistogamous. Chasmogamous flowers are on the pedicels that elongate to usually more than 1 cm long with large showy, tallow petals; there are numerous stamens and large sepals. The cleistogamous flowers are on the pedicels are usually less than 3 mm long, where the petals are absent, the stamens are few and the sepals are smaller than those of the chasmogamous flowers. The sepals are in 2 whorls, the outer are narrower than the inner. The capsule is 3-locular.[1]

Specifically, for Crocanthemum carolinianum species, the roots have tuberous thickenings, the stems grow 1-3 dm tall, are pilose, arising from a basal rosettes of leaves. The leaves are widely elliptic to obovate, or nearly lanceolate, growing 2-5 cm long, and 0.7-2 cm wide, stellate pubescent on both surfaces, with longer trichomes above; basal leaves are often somewhat erose,usually larger than the stem leaves; the petioles grow 1-3 mm long. The cleistogamous flowers are absent. The chasmogamous flowers are solitary, are opposite a leaf (or appearing internodal). There are 6 sepals, the outer 3 linear, growing 5-10 mm long, are acute to acuminate, stellate pubescent; the petals growing 1.5-2 cm long. The capsules are globose to subglobose, growing 7-9 mm long. The seeds are reddish black in color, papillose, and growing 0.8-1 mm long.[1]


Found from North Carolina south to Florida and west to Texas.



C. carolinianum can be found in longleaf pine-wiregrass savannas, as well as some disturbed areas, like mowed areas and fields.[2] It grows well in sunny, well drained habitats.[3]


C. carolinianum has both chasmogamous flowers and cleistogamous flowers. The chasmogamous flowers have 5 petals and numerous stamen, while the cleistogamous flowers lack petals and have few stamen.[4] Flowering has been observed in February, March, and April.[2]

Fire ecology

This species occurs in habitat that burns frequently.[2]

Conservation and management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 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. 718-9. Print.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Robert K. Godfrey, Chris Cooksey, R. Komarek, Loran C. Anderson, and Richard R. Clinebell II. States and Counties: Florida: Leon. Georgia: Grady and Thomas.
  3. [[1]]Native Florida Wildflowers. Accessed: April 16, 2016
  4. [[2]]Native Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia. Accessed: April 16, 2016