Monday, September 23, 2013

Day at Buck Creek Serpentine Barrens with Gary Kauffman by Jean Hunnicutt

Our September 12 trip to Buck Creek Serpentine Barrens began on a beautiful clear morning with 40% chance of rain only in the late afternoon.
We met Gary Kauffman on Buck Creek Road and almost immediately after his introduction, he reminded us:

Sedges have edges;
Rushes are round;
Grasses have joints....

and continued to remind us during the day as he helped us with details for identifying the beautiful sedges, rushes and grasses on the site.  (One fact:  Carex - rushes -  is the most abundant genus in WNC with 168 species.)  As we walked up the path to over look the area of first burning, Gary identified the flowers and plants along the way, and the sky began to get darker.  Within minutes it started raining and we scrambled for cover and to pull out rain gear and wait until it passed over.  When it didn't stop, we decided to eat our lunches in our cars.  The rain did finally ease off a bit and we looked at plants in the area before going to a second burn site.  Constantly during the day we were reminded (or informed) by Gary of taxonomic name changes and we appreciated even more the video Bob had forwarded to us the night before. 


As we saw, Buck Creek Serpentine Barrens is a floristically distinct area.  The dominant rock types, serpentinized dunite and olivine, influence the striking vegetation present.  Soil depth ranges from 0 to 60 cm, although rock outcrops represent between 5 and 10% of the landscape. The landscape appears similar to prairies or glades - with many unusual and beautiful grasses.  The rocky community contains a unique blend of mesic and xeric species within close proximity to each other.  

A total of 22 state-listed and seven watch-list plant species have been documented on the site.*  Most interesting is an endemic species of Aster identified and named by Gary and his team (Symphyotrichum rhiannon, Rhiannons's Aster).  
Rhiannon's Aster Photo by Karen Lawrence

An initial survey of butterflies and skippers documented more than 80 species within the area.  (Regular burns are done in sections so as not to affect butterfly populations.) 

It was a wonderful day in spite of the rain.  Gary's knowledge is amazing and he's entertaining, too!.  We're already looking forward to a trip with him next year.


Unfortunately the Gentianopsis crinata was not yet in bloom, but there were beautiful patches of Parnassia grandifolia as well as the other unusual and beautiful flora.  Karen's photos will tell the story.




Gentian







Grass of Parnassas; Parnassas grandifolia

Cowbane

Yellow Lousewort

Blazing Star

Dear Tongue Grass

Following photos from Kathy Stilwell






















   
One of the lists Gary provided is included here.  There are two others:  Southern Appalachian Grasses and NC Asters.  If you'd like a copy, email graceplays@gmail.com and we'll send you one.  
BUCK CREEK SERPENTINE FLORA

Dryopteridaceae                                  Wood-fern Family
Dryopteris marginalis                         Marginal woodfern
Athyrium asplenioides                       Southern lady fern
Polystichum acrostichoides                Christmas fern
Thelypteridaceae                                Marsh Fern Family
Thelypteris noveboracensis                New York fern
Phegopteris hexagonoptera                 Broad beech fern
Polypodiaceae                                               Polypody Family
Polypodium virginianum                    Common rockcap fern
Osmundaceae                                     Royal Fern Family
Osmunda cinnamomea                        Cinnamon fern
Osmunda regalis                                  Royal fern
Aspleniaceae                                      Spleenwort Family
Asplenium platyneuron                      Ebony spleenwort
Dennstaedtiaceae                               Bracken Family
Pteridium aquilinum                            Eastern Bracken fern
Ophioglossaceae                                Adder’s-tongue Family
Botrypus virginianus                          Rattlesnake fern

Cyperaceae                                                                                                      Sedge Family
Carex echinata                                     Star sedge
Carex scoparia                                     A sedge                                  
Carex manhartii                                   Manhart’s sedge                    
Carex woodii                                       Wood’s sedge                          Locally rare, peripheral
Carex laxiflora                         Broad loose-flower sedge
Carex pensylvanica                             Pennsylvania sedge
Scleria pauciflora var. pauciflora         Nutrush
Scirpus expansus                                Woodland bulrush
Juncaceae                                           Rush Family
Juncus tenuis                                      Yard rush
Juncus marginatus                               Margined rush
Juncus effusus                                                Common rush
Luzula acuminata                               Hairy woodrush         
Liliaceae                                             Lily Family
Sisyrinchium mucronatum                  Sweet-soil blue-eyed grass
Stenanthium gramineum                      Featherbells
Xerophyllum asphodeloides               Turkey beard
Chamaelirium luteum                          Devil's bit
Uvularia puberula                               Pale yellow bellwort
Aletris farinosa                                   Colicroot
Orchidaceae                                       Orchid Family
Liparis lilifolia                         Large twayblade
Liparis loeselii                                     Fen orchid                               Locally rare, peripheral

Poaceae                                               Grass Family
Brachyelytrum septentrionale                        Northern Shorthusk grass       Locally rare, peripheral
Brachyelytrum erectum                      Shorthusk grass
Calamagrostis porteri                          Porter’s reed grass                  Locally rare, peripheral
Danthonia spicata                               Poverty grass
Danthonia sericea                                Silky oat-grass
Deschampsia caespitosa ssp. glauca   Tufted hairgrass                      Locally rare, disjunct
Poa saultensis                                     Drooping bluegrass                 Locally rare, peripheral
Muhlenbergia glomerata                      Spiked Muhly                         Locally rare, disjunct
Sporobolus heterolepsis                     Prairie dropseed                      Locally rare, disjunct
Elymus trachycaulus                          Slender wheatgrass                  Locally rare, peripheral
Andropogon gerardii                           Big bluestem
Andropogon virginicus                       Broomsedge
Schizachyrium scoparium                   Little bluestem
Sorghastrum nutans                            Indian grass
Panicum virgatum                               Switch grass
Dichanthelium dichotomum                Witch grass
Dichanthelium boscii                          Bosc's witch grass
Dichanthelium latifolium                    Broad-leaved witch grass
Dichanthelium villosissimum              White-haired witch grass
Dichanthelium commutatum               Variable witch grass
Dichanthelium clandestinum               Deer-tongue witch grass
Dichanthelium angustifolium              Narrow-leaved witch grass
Aristida purpurascens                                    Arrowfeather
Holcus lanata                                      Velvet grass
Tridens flavus                                     Redtop
Dactylis glomerata                              Orchard grass
Smilaceae                                           Greenbrier Family
Smilax glauca                                       Whiteleaf greenbrier
Smilax rotundifolia                              Common greenbrier


Apiaceae                                             Carrot Family
Angelica venosa                                  Hairy Angelica
Oxypolis rigidior                                 Cowbane
Sanicula marilandica                            Maryland Sanicle
Taenidia integrrima                             Yellow Pimpernel
Zizia aptera                                         Heartleaf Golden-Alexanders
Aristolochiaceae                                 Birthwort Family
Hexastylis arifolia var. ruthii              Appalachian Little Brown jug
Asclepiadaceae                                   Milkweed Family
Asclepias verticillata                           Whorled milkweed

Asteraceae                                           Aster or Daisy Family
Achillea millefolium                            Yarrow
Arnoglossum atriplicifolium               Indian-plantain
Symphyotrichum undulatum              Wavy-leaved aster
Symphyotrichum rhiannon                 Rhiannon’s aster                     Locally rare, endemic
Symphyotrichum puniceum               Purple-stem aster
Leucanthemum vulgare                       Ox-eye daisy
Coreopsis major var. rigida                 Stiffleaf Coreopsis
Coreopsis pubescens                          Hairy Coreopsis
Doellingeria infirma                             Appalachian flat-topped white aster
Helianthus glaucophyllus                   Whiteleaf sunflower               
Helianthus atrorubens                         Appalachian sunflower
Helianthus microcephalus                   Small-headed sunflower
Erigeron philadelphicus                      Daisy fleabane
Eupatorium purpureum                      Purple-node Joe-Pye-weed
Eupatorium steelei                              Appalachian Joe-Pye-weed
Liatris  scariosa                                   Large blazing star
Rudbeckia hirta                                   Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia triloba                                Threelobed coneflower
Packera anonyma                                Small's ragwort
Packera plattensis                               Prairie ragwort                        Locally rare, disjunct
Seriocarpus asteriodies                       White-topped aster
Silphium trifoliatum                            Rosinweed
Solidago arguta                                    Cutleaf goldenrod
Solidago patula                                    Rough goldenrod
Solidago nemoralis                              Gray goldenrod
Caprifoliaceae                                    Honeysuckle Family
Diervilla sessifolia                               Smooth southern bush-honeysuckle
Viburnum cassinoides                         Wild raisin
Caryophyllaceae                                 Pink Family
Silene virginica                                    Fire pink
Convolvulaceae                                  Morning Glory Family
Calystegia catesbiana var. sericata      Blue Ridge bindweed              Locally rare, narrow range
Ericaceae                                            Heath Family
Rhododendron viscosum                    Clammy Azalea
Vaccinium stamineum                         Deerberry
Epigaea repens                                    Trailing arbutus
Lyonia ligustrina                                 Maleberry
Gaylussacia baccata                            Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia ursina                              Bear Huckleberry
Gaultheria procumbens                       Wintergreen
Fabaceae                                            Bean or Pea Family
Thermopsis villosa                             Aaron’s  Rod
Desmodium nudiflorum                      Naked flower tick-trefoil
Robinia pseudoacacia                          Black locust

Gentianaceae                                     Gentian Family
Gentianopsis crinata                           Fringed gentian                        Locally rare, peripheral
Frasera caroliniensis                            Colombo                                 Locally rare, peripheral
Sabatia angularis                                  Rose pink
Lamiaceae                                          Mint Family
Satureja vulgaris                                  Field basil
Salvia lyrata                                        Wild sage
Scutellaria incana                                 Downy skullcap
Pycnanthemum pycnanthemoides      Southern mountain-mint
Onagraceae                                        Evening-primrose Family
Oenothera fruticosa                            Southern sundrops
Oenothera tetragona                            Northern sundrops
Oenothera perennis                             Little sundrops                       Locally rare, peripheral
Parnassiaceae                                     Grass-of-Parnassus Family
Parnassia grandifolia                           Bigleaf Grass-of-Parnassus     Locally rare, rare S Apps
Polemoniaceae                                   Jacob’s-ladder Family
Phlox ovata                                         Appalachian phlox
Phlox carolina                                      Carolina phlox
Polygalaceae                                      Milkwort Family
Polygala paucifolia                              Gay wings
Polygala senega                                   Seneca Snakeroot
Ranunculaceae                                  Buttercup Family
Thalictrum macrostylum                    A meadowrue                          Sensitive
Thalictrum revolutum                         Skunk meadowrue
Ranunculus fascicularis                       A buttercup                            Locally rare, disjunct
Rhamnaceae                                       Buckthorn Family
Ceanothus americanus                        New Jersey tea
Rosaceae                                             Rose Family
Aronia melanocarpa                            Black chokeberry
Agrimonia grysosepala                       Common agrimony
Physocarpus opulifolius                     Ninebark
Porteranthus trifoliatus                       Indian Physic
Sanguisorba canadensis                       American burnet                     Locally rare, peripheral
Spiraea latifolia                                   Broadleaf meadowsweet
Spiraea alba                                         Narrowleaf meadowsweet
Scrophulariaceae                               Figwort Family
Castelleja coccinea                              Indian paintbrush
Melampyrum lineare                          Cow-wheat
Pedicularis canadensis             Wood-betony
Pedicularis lanceolata                          Swamp lousewort                   Locally rare, peripheral
Violaceae                                            Violet Family
Viola appalachiensis                           Appalachian violet                  Sensitive
Viola sororia                                        Common blue violet
Viola cucullata                         Bog violet
Viola sagittata                                     Arrowhead violet       

Friday, September 13, 2013

Trip to another bog with Carrie Radcliffe - part 2 by Jean Hunnicutt




Filming for Georgia Outdoors.  Carrie is a natural in front of the camera.

Fading blooms of Mountain Purple Pitcher Plants
Carolina Bog Laurel or Sheep Laurel.  (I don't think we saw this on the first trip



Box Turtle on that beautiful red Sphagnum again.
Dr. Sally Horn and the sediment coring crew at work
Carrie and husband Mike.  It was their 2nd wedding anniversary!
The whole crew.  They are a passionate, dedicated, fun-loving group who seem to enjoy each other - and restoring / preserving these rare and beautiful bog habitats.

They got me hooked.  I'm ready to go again - and am looking forward to volunteering with them next year.  Carrie will let us know when the "Georgia Outdoors" secret places episode will be aired.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Trip to another bog with Carrie Radcliffe - Part One by Jean Hunnicutt

Trip to another bog with Carrie Radcliffe

Carrie mentioned on our SAPS trip on 8/23 the possibility of a couple of volunteers going on a GPCA workday to a spectacular series of bogs at another undisclosed site.  Kathy Stilwell and I signed up immediately, and were delighted when Carrie let us know we could go on 9/3.  Kathy later had to cancel because of a sick grandchild, but I went and had an unforgettable adventure.

The trail to the bogs was steep (1200' - 1400' elevation gain in 2.5 miles) and the bogs were soggy and mushy of course but I hardly noticed the climb or my wet, soggy feet.  The weather was perfect, and I hiked to the bogs with Carrie and a TV crew - Sharon Collins of GPB's "Georgia Outdoors" with a cameraman and assistant.  They were filming for an episode on "secret places" which should air in January.  We were joined later by more workers / volunteers from GPCA, the Forest Service and other groups.  Also along were a team from the University of Tennessee who were doing sediment borings to look at the geological history of the site.

We visited three bogs, each it seemed more beautiful than the last.  While the GPB crew did their general photographing, we cleaned up around the rare plants, pulling weeds and cutting small woody plants growing close by.  A crew came in later to do the yearly cutting of shrubs and trees to keep the sites open to light.  Most thrilling for me was seeing the Mountain Purple Pitcher Plant and Swamp Pink "babies" - seeded at the site and showing how they are staring to spread on their own.
I wished for Karen and her camera.  There was just no way for me to convey the overall beauty of the sites with my phone camera, but I'll share a few here:
Mountain Purple Pitcher Plants growing happily

The Cinnamon Ferns were huge!

Cuthbert's Turtlehead with Lobelia


This Swamp Pink was planted about 15 years ago and its location lost over time.  It has been recently discovered and...

here are some of its "babies."  Note the beautiful red Sphagnum Moss.