Sunday, October 30, 2016

Day 2 of a Bog Visit in South Georgia

Rayless sunflower (Helianthus radula)
The afternoon of our visit to Dixie Bog took us to new areas. If you missed reading about part 1 last week, you can read about it here. As a person who spends most of her time immersed in Piedmont plants and habitats, I am always thrilled to experience the plants and places of the Coastal Plain. The afternoon explorations did not disappoint.

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.

Habenaria repens
Solidago sempervirens
Nymphaea lily

Our next location was a large and open area with a woodland edge. Black titi shrubs (Cyrilla racemiflora) were there and palmetto (Serenoa repens) grew among herbaceous plants like vanillaleaf (Carphephorus odoratissimus), blazingstars (Liatris spicata), toothache grass (Ctenium aromaticum), thick stands of cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea - a testament to the moist soil), and more. It started raining so some of us took shelter in the woodland (botanizing the whole time!) and unfortunately I only got a few pictures before we moved on. By the way, some people said they could smell the vanillaleaf in the air, but I couldn’t.

Vanillaleaf (Carphephorus odoratissimus)

Ctenium aromaticum
Liatris spicata

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.

Sorghastrum secundum
Elephantopus elatus

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.

1 comment:

  1. What a nice field trip. The rayless sunflower is spectacular. It is a new plant for me. Interesting that it doesn't petals. I assume it gets pollinated by native bees?