Following extensive, unsuccessful searches of their last known locations, as well as other areas of suitable habitat, Michaux's sumac is believed extirpated from the state (USFWS 1989, Murdock and Moore 1991).Historical and/or extirpated NC records exist (year last seen in parentheses) for Durham (1949), Franklin (1914), Hoke (1981), Johnston (1833), Lincoln (prior to 1917), Mecklenburg (pre-1800s), Moore (1901), Orange (1964), Robeson (1982), Wake (1942), and Wilson (1958) counties (Murdock and Moore 1991, NCNHP 1993).
Rhus michauxii is a species which was historically endemic to the Inner Coastal Plain and lower Piedmont of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia (USFWS 1989).HISTORIC RANGE: From the time of its discovery in 1895 until 1989, half of the known occurrences of Rhus michauxii have been extirpated (USFWS 1989).Thirty-two occurrences were historically reported from 23 counties in NC, SC, and GA (USFWS 1989).In 1993, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's Division of Natural Heritage discovered a large population of Michaux's sumac on Fort Pickett Military Reservation in Dinwiddie and Nottoway counties, Virginia (Fleming 1993).By the end of inventory work in 1993, 32 subpopulations containing an estimated total of 20,000 plants had been documented within approximately 10,000 acres (Fleming 1993).Kathy Burkes of FNAI notes: "Whether the plants seen in 1961 were waifs carried far afield from the Piedmont by humans or other animals in "recent" times, or were true relicts of a former wide distribution reaching south into Florida is another question.We may never know for sure about that."CURRENT RANGE: Extant occurrences are currently known to exist in North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia.Four occurrences historically known from Cobb, Columbia, Newton, and Rabun counties, GA, are believed extirpated (Murdock and Moore 1991, Patrick 1993).Historical collections are known from Florence, Kershaw, and Oconee counties, SC.In 2003, consultants surveying an abandoned railroad track right-of-way for a proposed high speed rail line found the first occurrence in Virginia located outside of Fort Pickett. In Georgia both extant and historical populations of R.This population of 230 stems in Brunswick County occurs in a fairly ruderal habitat next to a railroad grade with trash and weeds. michauxii occur on mafic/sub-mafic substrates and derivatives. The number of stems rangewide is estimated at 89,000 - 96,000 but given the clonal nature of the species, the actual number of genetically distinct individuals is likely far lower than the number of stems present.