Monday, December 10, 2012

Swallow Creek Wildlife Management Area: Late Season Gems on Cynth Creek Road

September 22nd, 2012. On our way home from Rabun County, we explored the Swallow Creek Wildlife Management Area in Towns County; a map of the WMA may be downloaded here. I’d never heard of this WMA which has several access roads from GA-75. We drove up to the end of CynthCreek Road. .

Although most wildflowers had finished blooming, we found a number of interesting plants and fungi that will ensure we return again next year.

Coral Fungus

There were a number of coral fungus under a canopy of rhododendrons. This was the best specimen, although older than the specimen we found previously.

A close up

Aster (Unidentified species)

The flower, and its…


Filmy or Mountain Angelica (Angelica triquinata)

I’m familiar with Hairy Angelica (Angelica venenosa) which grows in Fort Yargo State Park in Barrow County but this is the first time I’d seen Filmy or Mountain Angelica (A. triquinata). It’s green flowers are quite different from the white flowers of A. venenosa.

The flower head.

A close up

A compound leaf low on the plant

Solomon's seal (Polygonatum sp.)

These stems were ‘enormous’ – I estimated them to be 3 to 4 feet long - compared with the stems I’ve seen locally which are only 1 to 2 feet long. They were growing on an embankment almost at eye level so I had to content myself with photographing sections of them. I didn’t look closely at the underside of the leaves so don’t know if this was P. biflorum (Smooth Solomon’s Seal) or P. pubescens (Hairy Solomon’s Seal). P. biflorum grows throughout Georgia whereas P. pubescenss grows only in far north Georgia.

A section of the stem

 A close-up of the berries

Another view of the stem

Wild hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens or H. radiata)

I thought this was H. arborescens, not realizing that a similar species, H. radiata, occurred in this area also. So, I didn’t pay enough attention to the undersides of the leaves to determine if this was H. arborescens or H. radiata whose leaves have ‘white’ undersides. Yet another reason to visit this area again.

The flower head with developing seed pods.

This road may prove to be a very interesting site to visit throughout the year based on the few plants we photographed on this trip
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification Resources:
Southeastern Flora
Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia:
Will Cook, Duke University:
United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database:

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