Species Factsheets

Paxistima canbyi

Canby's Mountain-lover

View as PDF

State Status: Pennsylvania Endangered (PE)
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Endangered (PE)
Federal Status:

Global Rank: G2 rank interpretation
State Rank: S1

Did You Know?

This plant works really well for soil erosion prevention, especially because it thrives in rocky soils where many other species would not be able to survive.

Paxistima canbyi


Canby's mountain-lover (Paxistima canbyi) is a small evergreen shrub, 8-40cm high with simple, opposite, leathery leaves less than two centimeters long. Very small green flowers with four sepals and four petals arise from upper leaf axils.

Rank Justification

Critically imperiled in the nation or state because of extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer occurrences) or because of some factor(s) such as very steep declines making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the state.


Canby's mountain-lover occurs in rocky well-drained upland woods from Pennsylvania to Ohio, south to North Carolina and eastern Kentucky. Pennsylvania populations are found on west and northwest facing forested slopes, climbing over exposed shale and limestone formations.

Survey Dates

Flower April - May; fruit August - September


Southern Pennsylvania is the northern limit of this species' range.



Canby's mountain-lover is rare throughout its natural range. Two of the three historical Pennsylvania locations have been located, but could be threatened by railroad and quarrying expansions. Used commercially as an ornamental ground cover, some Canby's mountain-lover being sold by nurseries may have been dug from the wild.


Canby's mountain-lover is listed as a candidate species for federal listing by the USF&WS. It is also listed as Endangered in Maryland, Ohio and Tennessee and as Threatened in Kentucky and Virginia. Landowners need to be encouraged to protect the plants and habitat. Gardeners should buy only plants rooted from nursery stock.

Conservation Status Map


Map Legend

NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.


  • NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
  • Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
  • Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
  • 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
PNHP is a partnership between The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,
the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission,
and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
DCNR Home Page
PA Game Commission Home Page
PA Fish and Boat Commission Home Page
Western PA Conservancy Home Page
DCNR Home Page PNHP | Forestry Home | Contact Us | Search This Site
© 2019 PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
DCNR Home Page