I recently participated in the annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage held by the Georgia Botanical Society. This was the 48th annual such event for the Society, and the event moves around the state. For the first time ever, the event was held just outside of Georgia, in Chattanooga. Many of the field trips were still held in Georgia, in the Ridge and Valley region.
|Yellow trillium (Trillium luteum)|
The property owners give the Botanical Society permission about once a year to conduct a field trip on this botanically rich property, so I knew that this field trip would be the only chance this year to visit. This is calcareous habitat with limestone present so the plants we expect to find would be those that enjoy those conditions.
Our next stop was at a rock outcrop that was decorated with shooting stars (Dodecatheon meadia) and gloriously purple spiderwort. People stood in line to take a picture of the shooting stars! As we tiptoed our way through the finely textured forkleaf toothwort (Cardamine dissecta), we found blooming Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans) and trailing trillium (Trillium decumbens). Tearing our eyes (and cameras) away from the rich ground layer, we realized we were among blooming bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia) and yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava).
|Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)|
|Yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava)|
From here we proceeded into a moist cove area that was carpeted with mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum), Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), Dutchman’s britches (Dicentra cucullaria), Southern nodding trillium (Trillium rugelii), deciduous ginger (Asarum reflexum), green dragon (Arisaema dracontium), great Indian plantain (Arnoglossum reniforme, perhaps), largeleaf waterleaf (Hydrophyllum macrophyllum) and more.
We completed our trek with a visit to the bluffs and watched some very large fish moving through it. As we looked down, we spied several clumps of blooming fernleaf phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida). The area around the bluffs is under invasive plant management by the owner and large amounts of privet had been recently removed. Native perennials were recovering nicely.