Buckleya distichophylla

Poor Mountain

Poor Mountain is a mountain located in Roanoke County, Virginia and Montgomery County, Virginia. At 3,928 feet, Poor Mountain is the tallest mountain in the immediate area and is the location of broadcasting towers for the television stations in the Roanoke-Lynchburg market. Several transmission towers for radio and other telecommunications are also located on Poor Mountain, which can be seen from tens of miles away, especially at night. The mountain had been under consideration for the placement of a wind farm. However, Invenergy Wind LLC dropped the idea of putting wind turbines on Poor Mountain and neighboring Bent Mountain, as a study concluded that the potential energy would overload the existing electricity transmission lines found in the immediate area.

The mountain's name derives from the poor quality of its soils, due to their base of metamorphosed sandstone, for agricultural purposes. This is in contrast with nearby Bent Mountain, which is well known for its farms and orchards. Poor Mountain has the largest known population, by far, of piratebush (buckleya distichophylla), a plant which draws nutrients from the roots of Eastern Hemlock trees. Piratebush is found only in limited numbers at a few other locations in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve has been established to protect this population.

Twelve O'Clock Knob is located adjacent to Poor Mountain in Roanoke County directly south of Salem, Virginia. The north slope of the ridgeline formed by Poor Mountain and Twelve O'Clock Knob marks the southwestern boundary of the Roanoke Valley. Fort Lewis Mountain is located directly across the valley from Poor Mountain.


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