Thursday, October 4, 2012

Blue Ridge WMA: Noontootla River Valley to Springer Mountain Junction

September 2nd, 2012. It was the Labor Day (US) holiday weekend so we took the opportunity to make an overnight trip into the Chattahoochee National Forest. After making our way out of the Coopers Creek Wildlife Management Area, we drove up to Blue Ridge for the night. We retraced our way up the Noontootla River Valley through the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area as we had in mid-December 2011. We hadn’t seen many wildflowers on that trip. We saw a variety of wildflowers on this trip. The first section of the trip was on the Forest Service road to the junction with the road to the Appalachian Trail parking area below Springer Mountain.

The mountains northeast of Blue Ridge. It’s easy to see how the mountains got their name.

We only caught fleeting glimpses of the Noontootla River. The view is obscured by pine tress and rhododendrons

We found a large patch of milkweed plants with seed pods. I’m guessing these are Asclepias exaltata (Poke Milkweed) but it’s going to mean a trip back next Spring to verify the identification when the plants are blooming. These plants have only been documented in far northern counties in Georgia, including Fannin County. In anticipation, here are some photographs of the plant and flowers.

Seedpods were long and slender. Some plants had two seed pods

Individual Richweed (Collinsonia canadensis) plants were growing along the edge of the road.

Downy Rattlesnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens) plants had bloomed this year. Good cause for another trip back to this beautiful valley next year

A close-up view of developing seed pods

Small Bonny Bellflowers (Campanula divaricata) were growing along the road embankment

Mountain Aster (Eurybia chlorolepis) plants were blooming. These stood out among the wildflowers we saw.

White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) flowers were a little past their best but still stood out.

At the junction of the road at the top of the ridge, we turned southwest and drove out to the Appalachian Trail below Springer Mountain.
Next: Out to Springer Mountain and back
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
Southeastern Flora:
- Goodyera pubescens (Downy Rattlesnake Plantain)
- Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot)
Name that Plant: Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Eurybia chlorolepis (Blue Ridge White Heart-leaved Aster)

United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database:

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