|Rayless sunflower (Helianthus radula)|
A swing by a large pond was engineered to see a particularly special orchid that had just finished blooming: the waterspider bog orchid (Habenaria repens). Growing at the very edge of the pond (don’t fall in!), this orchid obviously needs special habitats to survive. We paused to admire the blooming water lilies and use binoculars to spot birds further out. Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens, I think) was blooming among the scrubby growth around the pond.
|Vanillaleaf (Carphephorus odoratissimus)|
Our last stop for the day was a bit more wooded. On the edge by the road, the area with the most sun, we admired some of the grasses in flower (yes, in flower). My favorite was the lop-sided Indian grass (Sorghastrum secundum). Sometimes we are so distracted by forbs (flowering plants) that we overlook these plants.
In the woods we found two different species of milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa in fruit and a faded clasping milkweed, A. amplexicaulis). Most plants were past flowering (including a whitetop aster or Doellingeria that I really wanted to see!) but we did manage to locate a couple of cool things. The rayless sunflower (Helianthus radula) was far more beautiful than I expected when I first heard of it. We also found a relative of the elephant’s foot that I know from the Piedmont.
It was a great day with amazing Coastal Plain native plants and awesome people. I love Georgia Botanical Society field trips for the interesting places we see, the beautiful plants, the people who share their knowledge, and the enthusiastic participants who soak it up.