We first explored the Rock and Shoals Natural Area on March 19th. It was clear that the trail held great promise for unusual wildflowers, both along the creek and up on the hill at the stone outcrop. We weren’t sure when many of the wildflowers would bloom so we returned on April 15th to check out the trail.
It was a cloudy day which gave the woods a slightly eerie feeling. Not an auspicious start to our walk but...
We found many Rattlesnake Ferns (Botrychium virginianum). This one is just starting to fruit.
A couple of Wild Ginger (Hexastylis arifolia; Little Brown Jug) plants were also blooming. Unfortunately something had nibbled on the flowers but you can see some nice blooms here.
The first major find of the day. A Catesby’s Trillium (Trillium catesbaei). We hadn’t seen any hint of these on our previous visit. We knew they were here but we didn't know if we were too early or too late in mid-March. Now we know. Just a taste here; more pictures soon.
Another major find. Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) in bloom. On our previous visit, the plants were just emerging from their winter dormancy. Now a couple were in bloom. More pictures of these soon too.
Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica) plants were just beginning to bloom in mid-March. Most had finished blooming but these strikingly colored flowers were on a tree deep in the shade of the woods.
Hairy Spiderwort (Tradescantia hirsuticaulis). Another surprise. We probably had seen the first sign of these plants in mid-March. I believe we called them ‘grassy things’ then. Now we know what they were. We found plants in various stages of blooming along the trail before we crossed the creek. Then we found them growing abundantely on the hillside by the trail leading up to the stone outcrop.
A special treat also. We didn’t see the spiders (Harvestmen; Opiliones) when we were photographing the flowers. Is this why these flowers are called spiderworts? No. See the origin for the name spiderwort here. More pictures soon.
On the top of the hill and around the stone outcrop, we found False Garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve) plants in full bloom. A treat.
Oneflower Stitchworts (Minuartia uniflora) were only beginning to bloom in mid-March – literally only one or two blooms. Now they were carpeting the area around the stone outcrop.
Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). At least I think that’s what it is based on photographs of its leaves and flowers. This was a surprise. This plant, unlike its vine cousins, Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) and Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), was a tree about 8 to 10 feet tall. A single tree stands against the cedars on the north side of the stone outcrop.
In addition to these plants, we found Yellow Woodsorrel (Oxalis stricta), Field madder (Sherardia arvensis), Low-hop clover (Trifolium campestre), Yellow Sunnybell (Schoenolirion croceum), and Purple Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum).
Occasionally the sun broke through the clouds and gave the woods a totally different feel. Even if the sun hadn’t shone, the wildflower finds this day alone would have brightened our spirits.
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- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Trillium catesbaei (Bashful Wakerobin)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Trillium catesbaei
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Podophyllum peltatum
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Tradescantia hirsuticaulis (Hairy Spiderwort)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Tradescantia hirsuticaulis
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Aesculus sylvatica (Painted Buckeye)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Aesculus sylvatica
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Lonicera maackii (Amur Honeysuckle)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Lonicera maackii
- Southeastern Flora: Bashful Wakerobin (Trillium catesbaei)
- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Catesby's Trillium, Rosy Wake-robin, Bashful Trillium, Rose Trillium (Trillium catesbaei)
- Southeastern Flora: Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: May-apple, American Mandrake (Podophyllum peltatum)
- Southeastern Flora: Hairy Spiderwort (Tradescantia hirsuticaulis)
- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Hairy Spiderwort (Tradescantia hirsuticaulis)
- Southeastern Flora: Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Painted Buckeye (Aesculus sylvatica)
- Missouri Plants: Amur or Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii).
- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Amur Bush-honeysuckle or Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)
- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower – Wildflower Index
- Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area; Part 1, Blue Trail
- Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area: Plants Along The Stream
- Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area: Plants Up The Hill