Found only at the highest mountain peaks, at and above 5,400 ft (1,645 m) in elevation, in the southern Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee (Untied States). Recorded from Mount Mitchell, Yancey County, North Carolina; Grandfather Mountain, Watauga, Avery, and Caldwell Counties, North Carolina; Mount Collins, Swain County, North Carolina; Clingmans Dome, Swain County, North Carolina; Roan Mountain, Avery and Mitchell Counties, North Carolina, and Carter County, Tennessee; Mount Buckley, Sevier County, Tennessee; and Mount LeConte, Sevier County, Tennessee. Experts believe that the Mount Mitchell population has been killed off.

Ongoing surveys show that reproducing populations still survive on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, but are restricted to small areas of microhabitat. Both the Mount Collins and Clingmans Dome populations, if still present, are extremely small. On Roan Mountain, scattered occurrences have been found at small rock outcrop sites. At Mount Buckley, population is restricted to scattered areas of microhabitat on separate rock outcrop sites within an area of 0.5 acres (0.2 ha) in size. At Mount LeConte, research indicates that the healthiest of the surviving populations occur in four small, separate areas of rock outcrop sites.

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