Afternoon Day 2 – North Eastern Alabama

We had been given permission from TNC in Alabama to visit two preserves in NE Alabama.  We started our tour with Chitwood Barrens Preserve.  After an exhaustive search for oreophila, we gave up.  The most frustrating thing was that were even given a map from TNC that had an arrow showing where the plants were.  I’m sure we were walking around them to be honest, it was just so overgrown, and in need of help, that unless someone pointed them out, finding them was near impossible. This site needs some love!

So we moved further south to a possible site.  A friend sent me a reference to oreophila being spotted on a hiking trail near the Little River gorge.  So I contacted the person who posted this on his website and he sent me GPS coordinates to the area.  We found the path, we found the creek he was referring to, but did not find the plant.  We found powercut nearby, and I thought… “hey, don’t I always seem to find Sarracenia in powercuts?” Seeing how the same steam that we were following in the woods where the plant was spotted, it made sense to think that there might be plants in the cut!  Yep… I was right! Not a huge population, maybe 30 or so clumps. I don’t think its an unknown location, but for me it was like discovering the site.  Pretty typical looking plants, kinda pooched out for the summer.

Then we moved on to our last site… again, a very well known site… the Coosa River Preserve.

The following is a photograph of the site in 2003.  I got this off flickr so if someone recognizes who owns it, or you are the owner, please understand I do not mean to steel your image, I just want to use it to show a then and now comparison.  I will give you the best credit that I can here from the info I found on Flickr.  The photo below is owned by Brian and lives in St. Peter Minnesota and he goes by Aeranthes on Flickr. So Brian if you see this and want me to remove it, I certainly will.  Please contact me here on my blog.

Clearly a large healthy population of plants.  Sadly, when I visited this site, it was a very overgrown mess.  It was clear that there was some attempt to mechanically remove some brush recently, but it is VERY overgrown.  We did find plants, but nothing like what is pictured above. Below is a random shot of the habitat now.

Here is photo of the nicest looking plants that I found.

And so ended day 2.  It was very cool to see these sites, but clearly more work needs to be done.  Sadly, the TNC is very overworked in AL and can only do so much.  It would be nice to see this site restored to the lustre it had back in 2003.

Our next day was going to equally cool… the last of three CITIES Appendix 1 plants… S. rubra alabamensis.

CJM

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2 Responses to Afternoon Day 2 – North Eastern Alabama

  1. Lois M. Ochs says:

    Thanx for sharing your interesting journey I feel like i have been there
    more please

  2. Alexander Nijman says:

    The thing with those Sarracenia seems that one of the problems it that they get overgrown and outcompeated by bushes and saplings from trees. I live here in the Netherlands. We do not have Sarracenia here but it seems those Sarracenia habitats have something in common with our heatherfields and marshy orchid rich grasslands here in Europe. To keep them in good conditions they use sheep and highland cattle here, or they mowe them in autumn, October, and remove the mown vegetation. Maybe this can be done also with those Sarracenia habitats where burning is no option. For example when you get those cp habitats close to areas where people live our under powerlines.

    Another thing they do here in my country is to restore rare plant habitats. They buy up agricultural land and scrape of the nutrient rich topsoil. On the poor moist to wet nutrient poor sand. I have seen the results, just thousends of Drosera intermedia and other rare plants getting back where there was previously nothing special. In the case of Pinguicula vulgaris, one of the most rare carnivorous plants here it had lead to an dramatic increase in the amounts of plants. From just a few to 10.000 individuals! I have been to that place, its a kind of seepage marsh. Many rare plants grow there in abundance thanks to good management!
    Well what works in this part of the world could work in North America as well I guess. Especially now many cp habitats are under pressure of habitat deterioration.

    Regards,

    Alexander

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