Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rabun County: Wildflowers On Popcorn – Plum Orchard Roads

September 21st, 2012. The next promising roads after the Coleman River Road and the Tallulah River – Tate City roads were the Popcorn – Plum Orchard roads, still in Rabun County.
Popcorn Road drops quite steeply from US-76 and then climbs quite steeply again. When it drops down ino the next valley, the road fords and unnamed creek and curves slightly to the left. The road then winds its way uphill into an area dominated by rhododendrons and crossed several times by small creeks; this area is full of springs. When Popcorn Road met Plum Orchard Road, we continued up Plum Orchard Road. We found a variety of wildflowers and mushrooms along these roads.

Gentiana saponaria (Soapwort Gentian, Harvestbells)
We found Soapwort gentians at lower elevations.


A closer view

Impatiens capensis (Jewelweed)
We didn’t see many plants along this road but the flowers were striking.

Amanita muscaria (Southern Fly Agaric)?

Just a couple, growing on an embankment

A closer view

Goodyera pubescens (Downy Rattlesnake Plantain)

Plants covered a high embankment at one point on Plum Orchard Road. I've not seen so many plants in one location
A closer view of a few plants. These are easy to recognize at a distance

Lycopodium digitatum (Fan Clubmoss, Running Cedar, Fan Ground-pine, Running Ground Pine, Common Running-pine)
Plants were starting to fruit

Gentiana decora (Showy Gentian, Appalachian Gentian, Striped Gentian)
Showy Gentians were blooming at higher elevations

We found some particularly beautiful specimens

Gentianella quinquifolia (Fivefinger Gentian, Eastern Agueweed, Stiff Gentian, Agueweed)

Plants in this area were growing in partial shade and were more delicate flowers compared with those we found at Patterson Gap.

These were good finds but the best were yet to come…
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification Resources:
Southeastern Flora
Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia:

Georgia Museum of Natural History: Southern Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)?
United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database:
Related post:

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