March 31, 2018, Lichens & Plants on Granite, Heggie’s Rock TNC Preserve, Columbia County

Posted under: East Georgia .

Meet: 10:00 am along Louisville Road; we will park just off Louisville Rd. along a dirt forestry-access road.

Description:  This trip will have lichens as its primary theme, although we will be enjoying everything from geology to ecology. Lichens are particularly abundant and diverse at Heggie’s Rock, and we will start with basics of what lichens are, and will learn about substrate, growth form, and classification. Around 200 species of lichens can be found around Heggie’s Rock, and we will be trying to observe lots of species. We will not be ignoring the several rare plants present, and are guaranteed to see Amphianthus pusillus, Isoetes tegetiformans, Draba aprica, Sedum pusillum and Arabis missouriensis. We will also see plenty of more common rock outcrop endemics, such as Diamorpha smallii, Isoetes piedmontana and Juncus georgianus. Heggie’s is one of the least disturbed outcrops in Georgia’s Piedmont, and the scenery alone is worth the trip!

Meet: 10:00 am along Louisville Road; we will park just off Louisville Rd. along a dirt forestry-access road.

Directions:  From I-20 exit 183 to Harlem & Appling (about 20 miles west of Augusta), go north on US Hwy. 221 2.6 miles (landmark: Shell station/Circle K/Blimpie’s on the right). Turn right here onto Columbia Rd. (state route 232). Travel east on this for 1.8 miles to Louisville Rd., and turn left. Drive 2 miles north on Louisville Rd. to an unnamed dirt track on the right. If you see Heggie’s Ridge Rd. on the left, you’ve gone too far.                                                                                                                                        

Walking: Moderate walk, down a forest path and then around a loop on the granite, about 1.5 miles total.  

Lunch/Facilities:  Bring to eat in parking area with the group, post-walk, or drive to nearby Subway to the east on Louisville Rd., or the aforementioned Blimpie’s, which is also the closest bathroom to the site.

Note:  Bring a loupe or hand lens if you can; the lichen world reveals itself with magnification! Other handy tools include a macro camera, and a pad for kneeling on the rock. Sunscreen, hats and long sleeves will help protect us on the unforgivingly open rock outcrop habitat. Please dress appropriately for predicted weather.

Leader: Malcolm Hodges (770) 776-9194,, Nature Conservancy ecologist.


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