Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Best Wildflower Walk in Georgia

If you have an interest in the flora of Northwest Georgia, find a way to get to the Pocket Trail on Pigeon Mountain near LaFayette in the next few days. (Do not confuse this with the Pocket Trail in Floyd County.) Here's the map -- only use it if you swear to be a good citizen in Eden, no apples!

If you have sworn, pricked a finger, and spit over your left shoulder, then take Ga 193 west from LaFayette to Davis Crossroads; turn left onto Hogjowl Rd; just past Mt. Hermon Baptist, slow way down (you can't see to turn till you are nearly past the turn!) and turn left onto Pocket Rd, which soon turns to gravel, and go till you can't go any farther. Park.

What a show! Our friends Richard and Teresa Ware, editors of Tipularia, the journal of the Georgia Botanical Society (Richard is a past president of the group.) spent the day showing us their favorite wildflower walk. Richard is one of the most knowledgeable botanists in Georgia and leads botanical excursions all over the state; what a treat to have our own guided tour. The Georgia Botanical Society will have a field trip to Pigeon Mountain next Sunday.

I took 149 pictures. Here are only a few favorites - click on a pic to enlarge it:

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud) There is a parking area near the trailhead. The path by the redbuds leads to the boardwalk through the bluebells to the waterfalls. The path to the left leads to the top of the falls and on to other trails.

What a lush array of floral displays. The blue is Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells)

The Virginia Bluebells have pink buds that turn to blue when they open.

A carpet of flowers draped down the hillside. The yellow is Stylophorum diphyllum (Wood Poppy).

Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's Breeches)

Phacelia bipinnatifida (Phacelia)

Cystopteris protrusa (Brittle Fern)

Trillium flexipes (Bent Trillium)

The falls area.

Phlox divaricata (Wild Blue Phlox)

Do you see the moth?

Aquilegia canadensis (Wild Columbine) I had to do a little rock climbing to get to these guys.

The view from the top of the falls.

Erythronium americanum (Trout Lily)

From the Pocket Trail we drove around the mountain to the east side where we found more wonders:

Conopholis americana (Squaw Root)

Jeffersonia diphylla (Twinleaf) - the only spot in Georgia this is known to grow.

Blue Hole (This water comes from deep within Pigeon Mountain in Ellison's Cave -- and Ellison's Cave is a story itself! (Here is one fellow's tale of a trip to the bottom of the "Fantastic Pit" in Ellison's Cave.)

and even more Trout Lilies!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:36 PM

    Great pictures... and lovely wildflowers I haven't seen in decades! Thanks for the tip. Must go check it out soon.