Week of July 5th

Pardon me if I need to curtail my enthusiasm. For me, the week of July 5 was outstanding. I am thankful to those who provided me with information and helped me out.

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sabatia-foliose-white-formOn Wednesday, July 8, I was traveling to a site near Stillmore, Georgia where the superb State botanist, Tom Patrick, had mentioned finding a bunch of Marsh Rose Gentian (Sabatia foliosa).As I was driving to that site, I noticed some pink flowers, that the mowers had spared, growing beside the road. Fortunately, I turned around and found a large patch of Slender Rose Gentian (Sabatia campanulata). Farther along, at the aforementioned S. foliosa site, after a short walk, I encountered those beautiful                                   plants, still in prime bloom.


sabatia-dodecandraTraveling on to Darien, Georgia, Wednesday afternoon found me staring at blooming Large Marsh Rose Pink (S. dodecandra) along the highway. There were about 20 plants growing beside the road in an ecotone between a flat of “brackish” wetlands and the mowed, wide, road shoulder. When I tested the water in the nearby “swamp” the reading indicated slight brackishness.


The next day, Thursday, still in the Darien area, included several breathtaking events. The excellent naturalist and Altamaha Riverkeeper, emeritus, James Holland had previously found Hog Plum trees (Prunus umbellata) in fruit. I had wanted to see the trees in person because of my interest in plums of the Eastern U.S. Thursday morning was spent in an area near Darien where James pointed out several other plants in addition to the plum trees. We also saw four Gopher Tortoises and a wild turkey hen with her brood. Also encountered in this area was a beautiful, but initially unnamed, wildflower. With her incredible botanical knowledge, Linda Chafin quickly identified the plant from the photos James sent her as the very “cool” Feay’s Prairie-Clover (Dalea feayi). On Thursday afternoon, James took me on an impressive boat trip up the Altamaha and some of its tributaries where he pointed out, growing along a bank, a group of beautiful white form of Marsh Rose Gentian (S. foliosa) flowers he had previously found. They were growing among other S. foliosa, some with light pink and others with darker pink flowers. We also saw several other wildflowers and birds during the river trip. James is also an excellent birder as well as a fine photographer.

sabatia-artamii-white-formAfter traveling eastward, I spent Thursday night in Waycross, Georgia. Friday morning began a long day of botanizing. An early morning hour was required for viewing the rare Night-Flowering Petunia (Ruellia noctiflora). It seems this reticent plant only produces flowers at night and drops them shortly after sunrise. The rest of the morning was spent independently botanizing along various roads around Waycross. Nice examples of Bartram’s Rose Gentian (Sabatia bartramii) and Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) were found. During Friday afternoon the amazing Rich and Anita Reaves allowed me to tag along on their scouting trip in advance of their weekend Georgia Botanical Society outings. Several species were found including, among others, a vast field of Mohr’s Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia mohrii), some stems of Snowy Orchid (Platanthera nivea), and more S. bartramii. In mid-afternoon, I departed Waycross heading home, leaving Rich and Anita still scouting. About forty-five minutes into my journey I received a cell phone call from Rich informing me they had found a white form of S. bartramii and a stem of the rare-for-Georgia Largeflower Rose Gentian (S. grandiflora). Without hesitation, I turned around and headed back toward Waycross. Based upon Rich’s detailed directions, I was able to locate and photograph both species in time to leave early enough to arrive home at a reasonable hour. Isn’t life wonderful!