Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stephens County: Currahee Mountain – Below The Summit

September 14th, 2012. We took off up to Stephens County and explored two separate areas: the Lake Russell Wildlife Management Area and Currahee Mountain. After we left the Lake Russell WMA, we drove north to Currahee Mountain.

Currahee Mountain, the highest mountain in Stephens County at 1,735 feet above sea level, rises steeply approximately 800 vertical feet (240 m) above the surrounding area and allows a view for many miles around on a clear day. The mountain lies to the southeast of Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountain crest and is part of the Georgia Piedmont or "foothill" province. It’s a popular place for rock climbers.

The road wound up a relatively gentle incline until it started up the ridge to the summit of the mountain itself. As we rounded a fairly steep bend in the road, I spotted several different wildflowers growing on the top of an gravel embankment. The embankment was too high and steep to climb but several of the flowers were hanging down.

Physostegia angustifolia (Narrowleaf False Dragonhead)
There were several physostegia plants growing in the grass on the top of the embankment. One stalk was hanging down over the edge of the embankment. 

Two Physostegia species – P. angustifolia and P. virginiana (Obedient Plant) grow in
Georgia. P. angustifolia has narrow leaves compared with those of  P. virginiana.

Liatris microcephala (Narrow-leaf Blazing Star, Small-head Blazing-star, Appalachian Blazingstar)

Boltonia species (White Doll's Daisy)? 
This is my best guess but I could be far off. Any assistance in identifying this flower would be appreciated.

The flower

The leaves

Coreopsis major (Great Tickseed)

The flower

The leaves make it easy to identify this species at a distance

Further along the ridge, we found…

Parthenium integrifolium (Common Wild Quinine)

The flower

The leaf

Pityopsis graminifolia (Narrowleaf Silkgrass) is differentiated easily from Pityopsis aspera (Pineland or Carolina Silkgrass) by the grass-like leaves at the base of the plant.

The plant

The flower
This was a beautiful stand of plants that begged to be photographed

Next: Currahee Mountain - at the summit
Click on an image to view a larger image

Southeastern Flora:

Name that Plant: Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia:
Alan Cressler: Liatris microcephala

United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database:

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