Pine Barren Beauty

Pyxidanthera barbulata and False Reindeer Lichen

This pretty little creeping plant is found only in the pine barrens of New Jersey and North Carolina; it creeps like a vine, looks like a moss and flowers like an herb, but is really a shrub; that is, its stems are woody. It forms small evergreen mats resembling mossy cushions and blooms in early Spring.

The name, shortened to Pyxie, delightfully suggests the fairy folk to whom the name belongs. Smiling upward from the sandy soil in the April sunshine, this tiny plant wields an incredible charm; especially so because I went out today not expecting to find much of note. As is so often the case with the Pine Barrens, I was pleasantly rewarded!

Botanical info from Our Early Wildflowers by Harriet Keeler, 1916 and Wildflowers of the Pine Barrens of NJ by Howard Boyd, 2001

6 thoughts on “Pine Barren Beauty”

  1. That is a lovely flower. I remember seeing my first trout lily on your blog a few years ago and it started me looking for wildflowers. You have been an ongoing inspiration.

  2. Enough with the finger flowers already! You need to get out and see some big blossoms!

    And are you sure that’s Pyxie? I thought it was more reddish.


  3. Ruth: I’m really glad to have had some part in your learning to enjoy wildflowers! Thanks for saying so.

    Bobbie: Thanks!

    Steve: Pfft!

    Read Boyd’s entry on Pyxie… “in early spring, leaves can be quite reddish, but these turn green by the time the plant blossoms.”

    I was gonna include that bit in my blog post, but didn’t want to have to say that, “I’d told you so.”


    Plus I have an awful pic from Warren Grove that proves it’s red before it blooms.

    So there.


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