After our purpurea expeditions and some BBQ to refuel, we found ourselves in Sarracenia rubra jonesii country in South Carolina. If I didn’t know that Sarracenia grew here, I’d never think to look. The habitat is so unique and different from where you’d expect to see Sarracenia growing. Here, the plants grow on granite outcrops called “Balds”. The photo below shows a bald off in the distance.
In some of the cases, these Balds have streams flowing over them… it’s these streams that create the habitats where not only jonesii are found, but other carnivores like drosera rotundifolia and utricularia species.
After following the stream through the woods, the forest opened to a bald. Although not visible in the photograph, there are jonesii growing in the scrub to left of the stream.
Where the stream flows over the rock, it spreads out into a thin layer of water. I was warned by many not to walk in the water as the layer of algae on the rock is extremely slippery. Of course I had to find out for myself. Standing on a good section of dry rock, I ran a foot over the surface… suffice it say that a greased pole would be easier to walk on!
Working our way down the bald we even encountered opuntia sp. Where there is no water flowing these balds are like desserts… full sun and very dry!
At last, we spotted what we came to see!
The plants we saw grew in little boggy pockets on the rocks where water diverted from the main stream. These low pockets are filled with organic matter. Its on these hummocks where you find the carnivores.
Seeing these habitats in person, I realized how fragile they really are. I slight diversion in the steam, or water flow over the rocks and these little boggy pockets will dry out! No water… no more Sarracenia!
We found this little seedling that was clinging to a tiny patch not more than a square inch on one of the rocks. One good rain and that little puppy was sliding down the hill. Feeling the need to save it, I relocated it to another newly formed hummock that was was a lot more stable and didn’t have any jonesii on it. Hopefully in a few years, there will be a new patch of plants there for people to enjoy.
Next we moved a little further east to another site. This site is around a pond. Many years ago, a family who lived on the property created this pond by damming a creek that flowed down the mountain. This creek happened to be a habitat for jonesii. Higher up the hill the bald is visible where the plants are. The seed obviously flowed down the “slide” of the bald and made its way to the pond below where they colonized all the appropriate habitat in the lake margin.
These plants formed very dense colonies and numbered in the thousands!
From here, we returned to Mark’s home where he showed us the bog garden on his property! It was a great end to our first day in the field.
We then headed west to north eastern GA for the night and an early morning meeting with some oreo’s… and I’m not talking cookies!