July 7th, 2012. We wandered north and found ourselves at the Wilson Shoals Wildlife Management Area in Banks County. We’d visited this WMA previously in … As we did last time, we entered the WMA from the Yonah-Homer Road (GA-51) and drove north on Grant Mill Road.
Our first finds were...
A single ironweed plant growing in the shade. I think this one is the Broadleaf Ironweed (Vernonia glauca), and…
A single Rosepink (Sabatia angularis). We saw several more plants along Grant Mill Road up to the ridge.
We continued along Grant Mill Road and turned along Hunt Camp Road and found a number of plants blooming or fruiting. In a short section of road, not far from the turn off, we found…
Several Ludwigia alternifolia (Bushy Seedbox, Alternate-leaf Seedbox) bushes in bloom.
More Rosepink plants in bloom, probably a dozen or so.
We started to see Pycnanthemum incanum (Hoarymountainmint) plants. These are much more ‘heavily frosted’ at these higher elevations in the mountains compared with the lightly ‘frosted’ leaves on plants lower in the Piedmont.
The flower had is a cyme with many small individual flowers that are easy to overlook.
And my find of the day, plant-wise – a couple of buckeye bushes fruiting. I’ve seen a lot of bushes in bloom but none fruiting. Based on the fruit, I believe these are Aesculus sylvatica (Painted Buckeye).
The road dropped down into an unnamed creek valley where we found a
wild ginger, and
a viola, probably Viola walteri (Prostrate Blue Violet). We’ll have to check these out in the Spring.
The road climbed out onto a ridge where we found…
Cirsium vulgare (Bull Thistle). This plant serves as the reminder of a missed opportunity. We stopped beside the plant and I started to get out before I realized that a Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) was feeding on the flower. By the time I saw it, I had startled it and it flew off into the woods. It’s good to know, however, that this is an area to look for this butterfly whose range doesn’t extend much south of here in Georgia.
Immediately across the road was a plant that looks like Aralia spinosa (Devil's walkingstick) just starting to bloom. Wish I’d looked at the stems more closely to be sure.
We drove a along the road until the road dropped precipitously and we couldn’t see how steep it would be to go further. The road was covered with loose gravel and, even with four-wheel drive we decided it would be prudent to turn around. When we started back to Grant Mill Road, we spotted…
a nice group of bracket fungi. These belong to the genus Ganoderma.
Next: More photos of fruiting buckeye bushes.
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Duke University, Jeffrey Pippen: Vernonia glauca (Broadleaf Ironweed)
Missouri Plants: Cirsium vulgare (Bull Thistle)