Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Daisy That Isn’t

Helianthus porteri at Arabia
Common names can be delightful (forget-me-not), intriguing (Flyr’s nemesis), and confusing (tulip poplar – neither a tulip nor a poplar!). The plant I want to talk about today goes into the confusing category, in my opinion. The fall-blooming plant with the botanical name Helianthus porteri is a beautiful annual plant that can be found on Georgia’s rock outcrops in prolific numbers every September. This year has been a gorgeous year for it; more on that in a moment. All the common names for this plant contain the word daisy: yellow daisy, Confederate daisy, Stone Mountain daisy. While daisy may be a common name for some flowers in the Asteraceae family, the plant is in the same genus as a sunflower and it irks me to call it a daisy!

Regardless of what we call it, of course, it is a beautiful native plant and one that gives a special grace to Georgia’s granite outcrops each year. This year seemed to be an especially nice year for it and my Facebook feed (lots of plant groups in my feed) was full of gorgeous photos. On September 21, we decided to mask up, pack a lunch, and take the grandkid out to Arabia Mountain to see the beauty (and all the rocks, a big attraction for the little one). Here are some of the photos from our trip.

Helianthus porteri
Will she ever finish taking pictures?

The mixture of rocks and soft flowers is magical!

Blooms might still be out there to see and there are plenty of cool plants to see year-round on outcrops. Follow the organizations that manage the outcrops for alerts next year. Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve is a particularly good one on Facebook and Instagram but other places include Stone Mountain Park, Panola Mountain, and Chattahoochee Bend State Park.

Callicarpa americana
Clematis virginiana

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