Sunday, October 4, 2015

Summer At Fort Yargo State Park: Shelter A To The Old Fort, August 10th, 2015 (Part 1)

August 10th. I started to walk again at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia. One of my favorite walks is from the Group Shelter A to the Old Fort and back.This is a rewarding walk for viewing wildflowers and I’ve been trying to walk it weekly and document the wildflowers I see.

The route, which I described here, here, and here.
The early spring wildflowers have finished blooming; it’s time to watch the developing fruit. Summer wildflowers were blooming now.

Many morning walks started out under cloudy skies but on this day it was sunny.

The first find of the morning was a real surprise; a ripe berry in a pine sapling. That was certainly out of place. And then I spotted the dried leaf that I recognized; the three-lobed leaf of the Yellow Passionflower (Passiflora lutea). I poked around and found another vine with leaves but no berries. I was delighted to find these, even if I was kicking myself for having missed the flower. Several years ago, many vines grew, bloomed, and set seed down by the point below the shelter. After a planned burn of the area, these vines didn’t grow again. It looks, however, as if these plants either survived or were reintroduced into this area. I’ll be looking for the flowers next year.

Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata) plants were putting on a nice show. I remember these from when I rowed on the lake; they are visible from a long distance.

The first Virginia Meadowbeauty (Rhexia virginica) plants along the lake’s shore were still blooming.

Finally! The fruit on the Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus) were showing the first pink color in the creases along which the capsule would split when ripe, and between the tubercules on the surface of the capsule.

The Small Wood Sunflower (Helianthus microcephalis) was blooming along the trail in the woods and at the edge of the open area associated with the disc golf course. The Starry Rosinweed (Silphium astericus) had finished flowering for the season.

I was surprised to find a doe in exactly the same place I’d seen one the previous week. If she had young fawns in the area, perhaps it wasn’t so surprising that she was still in this area. She was confident enough to keep grazing and ignoring me. I had to whistle several times before…

she raised her head and looked at me.

The Virginia Meadowbeauty plants were still blooming in the open area under the power line.

A clematis had begun to bloom in this same open area. At first glance it looked like the Virgin’s Bower (Clematis vrginiana), but closer inspection revealed that the vine was the…

Leatherleaf Clematis (C. terniflora) whose flowers look similar to those of...

the Virgin’s Bower. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two species is by inspecting the leaves.

The leaves of the Leatherleaf Clematis have smooth margins. In contrast...

The leaves of the Virgin’s Blower have notched leaves. 

The Leatherleaf Clematis is not a native vine whereas the Virgin’s Bower is native to the U.S. Unfortunately, all of the vines I’ve seen along this trail have been the Leatherleaf Clematis which appears to be invasive. 

As I made my way back to the main trail, I almost stepped on a…

Pigeonwings (Clitoria mariana) flower that was trailing on the ground. On the other side of the main trail…

Spurred Butterflypea (Centrosema virginianum) were blooming.

The berries on the Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) plant, in the woods just before the first bridge, were distinctly darker than they had been the previous week. 

I crossed the bridge and continued along the trail. 
(To be continued…)

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