Immediately after the trail crossed the stream, it headed straight up the hill, turned west into a thin Eastern Red Cedar woods. The stone outcrop lay in the cedar woods at the top of the hill. These are the plants that stood out along this section of the trail.
Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica). There were some saplings along the stream but half way up the hill there was a fairly thick patch of saplings. Most were 3 – 4 feet high. One was more than 10 feet tall. Some were just starting to bloom. Another first for my life list.
A couple of lichens. Old Man’s Beard (Usnea strigosa) and, probably, Perforated Ruffle lichen (Parmotrema perforatum). There weren’t many lichens along this trail. It was nice to see these together. Not a plant, but fun to find fruiting.
I believe this is Spreading Chervil (Chaerophyllum procumbens). At first I thought it was a fern and it took a couple of days before I remembered that Speading Chevil looked like a fern at first glance. I’ve been fooled by this plant before. There were several plants along the trail along the stream but the thickest patch was higher up the hill where the trail entered the cedar woods.
Eastern Prickly-pear (Opuntia humifusa). These plants look a little sad at the moment. Hopefully, it won’t be long before new growth rejuvenates the plants. These plants were where the trail entered the stone outcrop.
False Garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve). Just a few plants were blooming among the Bluets along the west margin of the outcrop.
Oneflower stitchwort or Piedmont Sandwort (Minuartia uniflora). These were just starting to bloom. I saw only a couple of blooms but many plants were in bud.
Grimmia Dry Rock Moss (Grimmia sp). This moss turns from a rich green when moist to a gray-black color when dry. This photo shows both moist (foreground) and dry moss (background). Large areas of the outcrop were covered with this moss. Hopefully, we’ll see it fruit and be able to identify the species.
In spite of this not being the optimal month for wildflowers at Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area to see wildflowers, we found a wide variety of interesting plants some in bloom and some promising blooms in the future. I’m sure we’ll be walking this trail several times during the year.
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- Will Cook. Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of North Carolina: Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
- Missouri Plants: Spreading Chervil (Chaerophyllum procumbens)
- Southeastern Plants: Eastern Prickly-pear (Opuntia humifusa)
- Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Eastern Prickly-pear (Opuntia humifusa)
- Southeastern Plants: False Garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve)
- Southeastern Plants: Oneflower stitchwort (Minuartia uniflora)
- Hugh and Carol Nourse. Favorite Wildflower Walks in Georgia. University of Georgia Press, Athens, Georgia
- Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area; Part 1, Blue Trail
- Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area: Plants Along The Stream