Serpentine outcrops around the world are known to harbor disproportionately high rates of plant endemism. Remarkable cases of serpentine endemism occur in New Caledonia and Cuba, with 3178 and 920 endemic taxa, respectively, found solely on serpentine. Despite the patchy occurrence of serpentine in eastern North America from Québec and Newfoundland south to Alabama, only one taxon, Cerastium velutinum var. villosissimum, has been broadly recognized as a serpentine endemic for the region. Based on reports in the literature, we suggest that Adiantum viridimontanum, Minuartia marcescens, and Symphyotrichum rhiannon be considered endemic to serpentine soils from the east coast of North America. Aspidotis densa, with several disjunct populations on and off serpentine in western North America, is known solely from serpentine soils where it occurs in eastern North America and should be considered endemic to the substrate there. The geobotany of eastern North America in general is poorly understood, and additional taxonomic studies on the region's unique geologic substrates will likely yield further edaphic endemics.



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NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Nishanta Rajakaruna was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.

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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bio_fac/514