KNP Rare Plants Database

KY Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves

Southern Heartleaf
Hexastylis contracta
Family: Aristolochiaceae

Protection Status:
State Status:  E
USFWS Status: 

Global Rank: G3
State Rank: S1


Photo by James Kiser
Deciduous forests with acidic soil.

Species Description:
Perennial herb.

Flowering Period: Early May to late June.

Additional Information at NatureServe

Diagnostic Characteristics:
These plants have small leathery petioled leaves that are cordate (heart-shaped) and without any hairs (wild ginger has hairs on the leaf petioles). They occur among forest leaf litter. This species is distinguished by leaves that are not mottled in appearance. The calyx tube is flask shaped and erect-spreading at the top of the ovary.

Timber removal would likely result in changes to the moisture and light conditions at the site and be detrimental to this species. Disturbance such as ATV trails, timber removal or any activity that results in increased erosion and weed invasion will be detrimental. Exotic pest plants are a threat to this species and should be removed. Avoid creating access to the site through trail or road construction.

Global Range:
Endemic to the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee and Kentucky, with a few disjunct populations in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina (Weakley, 1996).

Known Kentucky Occurrences:
Species occurrence map

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Data Last Updated: November 2018
Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves
300 Sower Blvd
Frankfort,KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-2886
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