A Fall visit to the Cedar Glades of northwest Georgia — 2018-11-04

The main reason I wanted to make this long trip was to photograph the uber fragrant Spiranthes magnicamporum or Great Plains Ladies’-tresses orchids. They are not found in the Carolinas, but they do appear in small numbers in the Cedar Glades and Limestone Barrens of two counties in northwestern Georgia. Little did I know, when I left home at 5:15 am, that I would see much more wildflower diversity than I had imagined, and I would also make a new field trip friend.

My good friend, Alan Cressler of Atlanta, Georgia had guided me to the sites for this orchid a few years ago, and I had asked if he would like to do so again. He readily agreed and mentioned that Henning von Schmeling, Senior Director of the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, Georgia would like to join us. Great! Time to make a new field trip friend.

Great Plains Ladies'-tresses orchidGreat Plains Ladies’-tresses orchid

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Fall Gentians of the Southeast — 2018-11-02

Fall, having thrust itself on us in the Southeast, I thought it would be fun and maybe a bit instructive to write a blog post about the southeastern Gentians. According to Jim Drake in his illuminating, self-published book, Gentians of the Eastern United States, the plant family Gentianaceae contains 87 genera and more than 1600 species worldwide. But I will restrict myself to three genera, Gentiana, Gentianopsis, and Gentianella, each well represented in the southeast. Incidentally, they all bloom during the fall, September through November. I had actually planned to make a short field trip to the upper reaches of Greenville County, South Carolina to photograph a population of Gentiana saponaria or Soapwort Gentian aka Harvest Bells which I’ve been following the past couple of weeks from bud to bloom, but it is pouring rain as we speak. Maybe tomorrow… This is what they looked like in full bloom a couple of years ago:

Soapwort GentianSoapwort Gentian

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