Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mayapples At Stalking Head Creek

March 24th & April 21st, 2012. We returned to the Piedmont NWR to check on plants we saw on March 10th and took the same route as on our last trip. We took Starr Road from GA-83 south on through the Oconee National Forest into the NWR. We drove through Tribble Fields to the bridge over Little Falling Creek and then north to Pond 2A. We returned the way we’d come and then took the first road on the right down to the Round Oak – Juliette Rd, drove east and then back into the NWR on the first road on the left. From there we drove north to the intersection with Sugar Hill Road, turned west and forded Stalking Head Creek. We then drove north and took the first road on the right to ford Stalking Head Creek again, east past a small pond and southeast to meet Sugar Hill Road again and then east to GA-11.

After photographing wildflowers at Allison Creek, we went on over to the ford at Stalking Head Creek to photograph the Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) again. Unfortunately, the patch we had photographed on our previous visit had been destroyed when this section of the NWR was burned. We made our way along the ledge to the patch that we had seen from the road above.

It was late afternoon when we arrived at Stalking Head Creek on March 24th. Although there is a hill to the west of the ledge, the sun was high enough, that the plants were lighted by filtered sunlight that reached the blooms. I didn’t have to use artificial light to photograph these flowers, unlike those I photographed at Rock And Shoals Natural Area near Athens. I used artificial light to enhance the features of the flowers in one of the photographs.

A few of the plants at the edge of the patch on the ledge above Stalking Head Creek

Closer views of one of the plants in bloom

Moving in to an individual bloom

Close ups of a bloom in natural sunlight

A close up of the bloom in artificial light

This bloom has lost its leaves. The ovary appears to be swelling. Mayapples require cross-fertilization to produce fruit. Time would tell if a fruit develops.

We returned late yesterday afternoon, April 21st, to see if fruit are developing. It was cloudy and the light level was very low.

A photograph of the Mayapple patch. Developing fruit are visible as light, ovoid shapes under the leaves. Four fruit are visible; only two are obvious.

A closer view of one of the plants.

A developing fruit

The pattern of the remains of the stigma on the end of the fruit has an interesting pattern.

Interestingly, Podophyllum peltatum hasn’t been documented in either Greene nor Jones counties where we’ve photographed them. No doubt, we’ll be returning here to follow the development of these fruit.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

- Southeastern Flora: Podophyllum peltatum (May Apple)

- Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Podophyllum peltatum (May-apple, American Mandrake)

- Missouri Plants:
Podophyllum peltatum

- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Podophyllum peltatum

- USDA Plants Database: Podophyllum peltatum (Mayapple)

Related Posts
- Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge: Late Winter Surprises (Part 4)

- Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge: Atamasco Lily (Zephyranthes atamasco)

- Jasper County, Georgia: Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

- Jasper County, Georgia: New Life – Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum) & Green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)

- Piedmont NWR: Flowering Dogwoods (Cornus florida)

- Piedmont NWR: Bulbous Bittercress (Cardamine bulbosa)

- Piedmont NWR: A Wildflower Miscellany

- Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

- Mushrooms At Stalking Head Creek

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