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Habitat: On moist slopes, creekbanks, and rock outcrops in humid escarpment gorges with high rainfall, generally in deep shade under Rhododendron maximum and R. minus, at elevations (in NC) of 350-650m
Glossy leaves resembling Galax - as the specific name implies, per Wild Flowers of NC, 1st edition.
Leaves with pinnate veins (vs. the palmate veins of Galax), per Wildflowers of the Southern Mountains.
Leaves orbicular to elliptic-orbicular, coarsely crenate-serrate, per Vascular Flora of the Carolinas.
Habitat: Mountain forests, rock outcrops, nearly ubiquitous in the Mountains, more restricted in habitat elsewhere, moist to dry slopes in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, often associated with Kalmia latifolia or Rhododendron maximum
Leaves sharp-toothed, glossy, and often aging to wine-red or bronze, per Wildflowers of the Southern Mountains.
Galax is often called Coltsfoot because of the shape of its leaves, per Great Smoky Mountains Wildflowers.
Leaves nearly circular with palmate veins [vs. the pinnate veins of Shortia], per Wildflowers of the Southern Mountains.