Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Hexastylis contracta Blomquist is a rare herbaceous perennial plant endemic to southeastern North America. The plant exhibits a disjunct distribution, being found on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee and Kentucky and also 300 km east in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. This plant was the subject of a population inventory supported through the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KNPC) which expanded the number of known populations of the species (28) by 68%, with 47 populations now known to exist. A morphological analysis of this species was done using principal components analysis. This analysis was used to answer questions concerning the relationship of H. contracta to the sympatric species Hexastylis rhombiformis, as well as to provide possible genetic lineage information on H. arifolia individuals discovered in the course of the field work in Tennessee. This analysis revealed that H. rhombiformis is distinct from Hexastylis contracta. The putative intermediate was found to be within the morphological boundary of H. arifolia var. ruthii.


Medical Sciences