So the next morning we woke up early… had to meet our guide at the preserve at 8:30. We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express… very nice place… I can talk all I want how nice the room was, or how comfy the bed was, but really what mattered was that I had the best breakfast there, Biscuits and sausage gravy, with scrambled eggs and bacon! mmmm love biscuits and gravy.
Anyway, enough of that. So we drove to the preserve and met our guide from the nature conservancy. This place is truly unique as its the only extant site for Sarracenia oreophila in the state of Georgia.
I was excited to see this site as I had visited once before in 1994. I had got permission from the person maintaining the property to take a walk to the bog. Lots has changed. Sadly, not in a good way.
Here is a recreation of a photo I took in 1994. There were lots of oreophila in this area. Now nothing except for about 20 clumps that the TNC has planted. The actual bog is to the left of this shot. Lots of nice plants in there, but like I said, it pales to how many there used to be here.
As you can tell by the photo, the plants here were pretty dried up for the summer. There were some new leaves coming up, but generally most of the leaves were dried up which made for ugly photos.
The leaves that we did find were striking! Many exhibiting dark thick veins and red lips. This would be an amazing place to see in the spring!
When we were done, we headed north over the border into NC to visit the only extant North Carolina site of Sarracenia oreophila. I had heard from a number of sources that that site is carefully watched by people in the area, and its not good to visit unless you have a guide. Thankfully, our TNC guy took us there, cause within a short time of being there, someone was calling out to us and asking who we were and why we were there. I have to admit, it was great to see that the “locals” care for and watch this site.
This is one of those spots that if you don’t know it was there, you would never see it. Tucked in a clearing, this was a very large, clearly well maintained, oreophila site. There were large clumps, again way beyond their prime, but amazing to see none the less.
The plants here are pretty much the same as the plants we saw in GA. They produce the same thin, non recurved phylodia. I wish I took a picture. Typical oreophila are curved broad and flat, these are straight and thin. A characteristic that these populations share. Being close to each other, I’m sure historically these populations are genticaly very similar. Our guide mentioned that there was another site between the two, but it was no longer extant.
From here it was off to north eastern AL to visit some more oreophila sites. We got permission to access to two preserves, and we got a tip on another site off a birdwatching (or hiking) webpage.
It was a great morning, and many thanks to Malcolm our guide from the Nature Conservancy for taking time to drive out and take us around!!! There is nothing better to cap off a perfect morning with than a perfect lunch. So we stopped in Chattanooga TN
Even though this is a “chain” BBQ place… the food was awesome.