March 18, 2017, Tallulah Falls State Park, Early Spring Wildflowers, Rabun County

Posted under: Northeast Georgia.

The Japanese Plant trip to Rabun County scheduled for this date has been cancelled, as the plants bloomed early this year and most likely will be gone by the time of our field trip.  Instead, we will be visiting the spectacular Tallulah Falls State Park, also in Rabun County in northeast Georgia.

Meet:  10:00 am  at the Tallulah Gorge State Park visitors’ center. There is a five dollar parking fee.

Description:  We will walk the north rim 1/2 mile trail and then the south rim 1/2 mile trail. Due to the unusually warm winter, the plants we may find blooming are Trailing Arbutus [Epigaea repens}, Bird’s-Foot Violet {Viola pedata], Shuttleworth’s Ginger [Hexastylis shuttleworthii], Gaywings [Polygala paucifolia], and Persistent trillium [Trillium persistens]. 
Directions: Take I-85 and I-985 north to Gainesville,  GA, and continue north on GA 23 to Tallulah Falls.  At the stop light in Tallulah Falls, turn right and follow signs to the park visitors’ center.  We will meet inside the visitors’ center. 
Facilities: Park visitors’ center.
Walking: Two miles on developed trails.
Lunch: Bring to eat at the picnic area in the park or you could eat in Clayton, GA, which is 11 miles north.
Leader:  Louis Schweizer  706-782-5426 [H]   706-490-5135 [C]

March 25 and March 26,  2017 Pitcher Plant Bogs at Splinter Hill Bog, AL, and Buttercup Flats, MS

Posted under: Other states; Road Trip.

March 25 and March 26,  2017, Pitcher Plant Bogs at Splinter Hill Bog, AL, and Buttercup Flats, MS.

Join Trip Leader Rich Reaves for an impromptu (short-notice) weekend visit to two of the most spectacular pitcher plant seepage bogs found anywhere: Splinter Hill Bog in Alabama on Saturday, and Buttercup Flats in Mississippi on Sunday. We plan to see the White top Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia leucophylla) at the Alabama site, and Yellow Trumpets (Sarracenia alata) at the Mississippi location.

White top pitcher plant, Photo by Rich & Anita Reaves

Saturday: (Splinter Hill Bog, AL)

Meet: at the Ruth McClellan Abronski Splinter Hill Bog Preserve Parking Area at 12 Noon Central Daylight Savings Time.

Directions:  To Splinter Hill Bog: From I-65 Exit 45 (Perdido/Rabun) in Alabama, head west on County Rd. 47. for approx. 1.75 miles. The gravel parking area for the bog will be on your left shortly after you cross Dyas Creek.

Description: From the Nature Conservancy site for Splinter Hill:

“Located at the headwaters of the Perdido River along Dyas Creek, Splinter Hill Bog is home to a variety of habitats, from sandy upland longleaf pine forests to seepage bogs to inundated small stream swamp forests. Much of the site is covered by some of the largest and most visually impressive white-topped pitcher plant bogs in the world.”

After we finish at Splinter Hill, we may do a bit of roadside botanizing between Mobile and Moss Point.  There is a nice Mexican restaurant at the Moss Pont exit where we can eat Saturday night.

Sunday: (Buttercup Flats Bogs, MS)

Meet:  8:00 CDT at the Hampton Inn at Exit 69 on I-10 (Moss Point, MS). We will then caravan to Buttercup Flats. Or: Meet us at Buttercup Flats between 9:00 and 9:30, CDT.

 Directions to Buttercup Flats: From I-10 Exit 69 in Mississippi, turn north on HWY 63.  Proceed to HWY 26 (approx.. 35 miles) in Lucedale and turn west on HWY 26.  Proceed to the intersection with MS 15 (approx.. 23 miles) and park in the area on the southwest corner of the intersection.

Description: From the Mississippi Native Plant Society:

“Buttercup Flats is one of the world’s most famous pine savannahs and pitcher plant bogs. With more pitcher plants (mostly Sarracenia alata) than the eye can see, the place is rather awe-inspiring. Like most bogs, the site is also rich in many other herbs, including sundews, butterworts, bog buttons, meadow beauties, colic root, and the aptly named ‘bog cheetos.’  ”

I will attest that the numbers of S. alata at this site are absolutely jaw dropping – you will think you have seen more pitcher plants than you thought possible at Splinter Hill and then you get to Buttercup Flats and realize Saturday was just the warm up.

NOTE: These are seepage slopes and flatwoods – it will be wet and squishy.

Lunch: :  Plan to eat lunch on your own prior to the visit to Splinter Hill, as we are starting late.  A bag lunch is recommended for Sunday at Buttercup Flats.

Bring:  camera, water and snacks, footwear suitable for the conditions (change of footwear is probably a good idea), bug repellent, sunscreen, hat.  It will be turkey season, so orange is recommended even though there should not be any hunting at either location  You may want walking sticks for balance. 

Walking: moderate, but quite wet and squishy, as noted above.  There are downed logs at Buttercup flats (recent beetle issue) that may need to be clambered over.

Facilities:  convenience store at Exit 45 on I-65 near Splinter Hill location, convenience store at Bendale (about halfway from Lucedale to Buttercup Flats.  None at either site.

Leader: Richard Reaves (770-827-5186); rich.reaves@attnet


Sunday, March 26, 2017, Oconee National Forest, Greene County

Posted under: Middle Georgia.

Description: Although fungi are now considered botanically illegitimate and hence excluded from the plant kingdom, we will survey an area for examples of various mushrooms, conks and allied types of fungi to review.  Scull Shoals Experimental Forest is in the Oconee Nat’l Forest between Greensboro and Athens.  There is a variety of drier upland (mostly pine) and wetter bottomland (mixed) habitats with different forest cover types.  Prescribed fire is used in some areas of the forest which may also increase diversity, although the burns are mostly in the pine areas.  We hope this combination will better our chances of finding areas with enough moisture to have several types of fungi fruiting.  Oconee forest is pretty far south for morels, but we did schedule this trip early in the growing season just in case we get lucky.  Morels are fond of ash so we will at least scan the riverbanks and low ground as well as any low areas that were burned. 

A hand lens will be useful.

Directions:   Starting at Greensboro GA, Exit 130 on I-20, Take GA 44 towards Greensboro for 2.6 mi, At the corner of Broad and Main, turn left on GA 15 North for 0.3 mi. At Holcomb’s BBQ turn right (still on GA 15), Continue on GA 15 for 11 mi

Right on Macedonia Rd for 2.5 mi, Left on FS (forest service Rd) 1234 for 0.1 mi (stop and see Dr Durham’s herb walk)

Continue on FS 1234 for 2.9 mi to Scull Shoals historical site 

(33.733155, -83.289843 approx location)


 Facilities:   At the historical site.  



Trip Leader:  Elliott Horner,

April 1, 2017, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Cochran Shoals Unit, CobbCounty

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Showy Orchis, Orchis spectabilis,  Photo by Mike Christison

Showy Orchis, Orchis spectabilis, Photo by Mike Christison

 Meet:   10:00 at Powers Island Unit – across the bridge in Fulton County.

Description: We’ll  take a short walk across the bridge and use the busy riverside trail to reach the Wildlife Viewing Boardwalk over the wetlands. Here we’ll enter another world occupied by hundreds of southern nodding trilliums (Trillium rugelli) in various stages of bloom. We will continue walking in the Gunby Creek area of Cochral Shoals to find other spring delights including Atamasco lilies (Zephyranthes atamasco), showy orchis (Orchis spectabilis ) and foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia). We will probably find Hepatica leaves, but the flowers will have bloomed a month ago. We’ll lunch in the woods along the way or and enjoy our time in this beautiful forest.  If we cannot find suitable logs  and rocks to sit on, we may lunch at the picnic tables along the river.

If Spring is early, we may head over to Paces Mill ( a 10 minute drive) to look for horsesugar trees  (Symplocos tinctoria) in flower along the river and flames azaleas (Rhododendron flammeum) on top of the ridge. Both normally blooom the first week of April.

Directions: Meet at the Powers Island Unit in Fulton County where parking is plentiful. We will walk over the river to the Cochran Shoals Unit.  The GPS coordinates for Powers Island are: 33° 54′ 10.42″ N, 84° 26′ 28.3″ W. If you need specific directions, please contact trip leader.

Leader: Maureen Donohue,, 770-990-7756.

Atamasco-lily, Zephyranthes atamasca, Photo by Richard and Teresa Ware

Atamasco-lily, Zephyranthes atamasca Photo by Richard and Teresa Ware

Facilities: Restrooms are available at Cochran Shoals and Paces Mill Units

Difficulty: Mostly flat terrain with a few short hills, ~ 3 miles at Cochran Shoals and 2 miles at Paces Mill where there is one large hill to see the azaleas, but they are worth it.At Cochran Shoals we may have to walk/climb over fallen trees on the trail.

Bring: Bring camera, hand lens, field guide, $3.00 parking fee or annual /senior pass, water and a pack lunch or snacks.

Sunday, April 2, 2017, Violets Workshop and Hike through Cloudland Canyon, Dade County

Posted under: Northwest Georgia.

Cloudland Canyon SP

Sunday, April 2, 2017, Violets Workshop and Hike through Cloudland

Canyon, Dade County

Meet:  10:00 am at the Overlook parking lot in Cloudland Canyon State Park

Halberd-leaf Violet, Viola hastata

Description: Part of Georgia’s Cumberland Plateau province, Cloudland Canyon is a place of great scenic beauty and interesting  wildflowers.   We’ll start the day with a Violet workshop, led by Dr. Harvey Ballard of Ohio University. Dr. Ballard is a world expert in the Violet family.  The workshop should last about an hour.  Afterwards, we’ll practice what we’ve learned as we hike through Cloudland Canyon.  We’ll pass two waterfalls, then hike 2.5 miles along the Sitton’s Gulch Trail.  We should see several species of violets, as well as many other spring delights, including Southern Red Trillium, Trillium sulcatum, Dwarf Larkspur, Delphinium tricorne,  Spotted Mandarin, Prosartes lanuginosa and Spotted Mandarin, Prosartes maculata, among many others.   A few cars will be located at the end of the trail so that we don’t have to climb back up to the top. The hike, including the side trips to the waterfalls is approximately 4 miles. 

Directions: Located on  GA Hy 136, 8 miles east of Trenton and I-59 (Exit #11), and 18 miles west of LaFayette.

From Atlanta take I-75 to exit 320. Go west on GA 136 through Villanow and Naomi (slight jog to left and then right). At Lafayette, take US 27 bypass around town to the north and follow the signs for about 18 miles, staying on GA 136  to the Park’s main entrance. Meet at the Overlook parking area.


Cloudland Canyon State Park
122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road
Rising Fawn, GA 30738 
Walker County 

GPS Coordinates:

N 34.8402630 | W -85.4828810

Bring:  Lunch (we may picnic along the trail), plenty of water, comfortable walking shoes, binoculars.

Difficulty:  Moderate, due to ~600 downhill steps leading to the canyon floor.  Otherwise, the trail through the canyon is mostly easy to  moderate.

Facilities:  Available at parking area. 

Note:  A $5 parking pass is required in the park.  Registration is required so as to help in planning the shuttle.  If you are able to help shuttle a few people in your car, please contact Aliya, the trip leader.

Trip Leader:  Aliya Davenport, or 336-209-9789.


Sunday, April 2, 2017, Arabia Mountain – TRIP CANCELLED!

Posted under: Atlanta area.

Spring Colors on Arabia Mountain

This trip to Arabia Mountain on Sunday, April 2, 2017, has been cancelled by trip leader Jerry Hightower, due to slow recovery from knee replacement surgery. We all hope he will be back on his feet again soon!

Trip Leader: Jerry Hightower

Description:  Join the Georgia Botanical Society and Naturalist Jerry Hightower for a leisurely paced hike up and around the mountain to view the solution pool gardens, the amazing mosaic of lichens, and small, but interesting, patches of trees and shrubs.  Sculpted over geologic time by wind, rain, cold, and heat; these extraordinary gardens are beautiful to behold.  After lunch we will take the forest loop to the lake and then on to the salamander pools.  This DeKalb County park is both a geological and botanical treasure.

Meet:  10:00, Park Visitor Center

Facilities: In Visitor Center

Difficulty:  Moderate with some fairly steep, but short, ascents and descents.

Bring:  A lunch and water to carry along and we will picnic on the mountain.  You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, and camera.  

Limit: 30

Please contact Jerry Hightower at 770-206-0338 or if you are planning on joining this trip.


April 15, 2017, Discovered and Undiscovered Treasures, Shooting Stars and Jacobs Ladders Kearns property, Floyd county

Posted under: Rock Outcrops; Uncategorized.

Meet: 10:00, at property of Dave and Jennifer Kearns,  670 Rush Chapel Road, Adairsville, GA, 30103

At spring on Kearns Property

Description:  We first visited this wonderful property in 2014, and are fortunate enough to have been invited back this spring.  After two winters of invasives removal, the owners are seeing more botanical wonders: Jack in the Pulpits, Comfreys, Lance Leaf Trilliums, Buckeyes, Delphiniums, Wood Sorrel, Geraniums, Green Dragon etc., in addition to the previously discovered Shooting Stars and Jacobs Ladders.  

Directions: From Atlanta, I-75, Exit 306, left on Highway 140, going west  on Highway 140, 7 miles, left on Rush Chapel Road, go 1.5 miles, house on the right, 670 Rush Chapel Road.

Jacob’s Ladder, Polemonium reptans

Bring:  long pants, walking shoes/boots, water, hat, lunch, rain wear if necessary

Facilities: Bathroom at house

Walking: Easy walk through woods, fields, approximately 2 miles

Shooting Stars, Dodecatheon meadia

Shooting Stars, Dodecatheon meadia

Trip Leader:  Jennifer Kearns, 706-409-0946,


Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16, 2017, Roadside Botanizing: Waycross and Okefenokee Area, SE Georgia

Posted under: Roadside Botanizing; South Georgia.

April 15: 

Rose Pogonia, Pogonia ophioglossoides, photo Anita Reaves

Meet:  10:00, Walmart in Waycross – On US 1 on east side, just over 1 mile south of US 1/US 82 intersection.

Sarracenia minor and S. psittacina, photo Anita Reaves

Sarracenia minor and S. psittacina, photo Anita Reaves

Description: We will drive GA 177 north of Okefenokee Swamp Park, stop at a wet ditch by a power substation on US 1 just north of Folkston, stop at the HWY 23 bridge at Spanish Creek south of Folkston, and then drive the Swamp Island Drive in the Okefenokee NWR.

Wildflowers we should encounter on one or both days include Sarracenia minor, Sarracenia flava, Sarracenia psitticina, Pinguicula caerulea and Pinguicula lutea, Pogonia ophioglossoides, Zephyranthes atamasca, Baptisia perfoliata, Polygala lutea and Polygala nana, Drosera brevifolia and Drosera intermedia, and Asimina reticulata.

We will be a little flexible in what we do, as the flowers will dictate where we ultimately spend our time.

Directions: Take I-75 south to US 82. Take US 82 east to Waycross and US 1 south to the Walmart parking lot.

Bring: Lunch to eat on the road (purchase along the way will be difficult to impossible due to extremely sparse pickings), water, bug spray.

Walking: Short excursions along the roadside, never out of sight of the vehicles – can be muddy or wet.

Facilities: Gas station at Folkston during the day.

Carpooling is encouraged to make pulling off easier for our roadside botanizing.

Contact: Rich Reaves    770-827-5186 – cell but may not have service once out of town.


April 16

Meet: 8:00 AM (Note early start time) at Hampton Inn Waycross (on US 82)

Description: Our first stop will be on GA 301 where we see Ruellia noctiflora in mid-summer.  This will be an exploratory stop, as I have not been at this site in spring – however, I do expect interesting spring plants.  Then we will make a couple of stops on the route back to Waycross on HWY 82 and finish off the day at a Sarracenia flava bog west of Waycross. 

Wildflowers we would expect to see are similar to those mentioned above and include Sarracenia flava (obviously).

We should finish early afternoon to allow folks plenty of time to get home.

Directions: Meet at the Hampton Inn in Waycross (on US 82), just past the intersection with US-1 at 8 AM. 

Bring: Lunch to eat on the road, water, bug spray.

Walking: Short excursions along the roadside or the prairie boardwalk at Okefenokee NWR.  Usually within sight of the vehicles (except boardwalk) but it can be muddy/wet.

Facilities: As we travel back through Waycross late morning we will stop at the Flash Foods on the west side of town for a refreshment break.

Carpooling is encouraged to make pulling off easier for our roadside botanizing.

Contact: Rich Reaves   rich.reaves@    770-827-5186 – cell but may not have service once out of town


April 22, 2017, Till Ridge Cove, Trillium Grandiflorum, Rabun County

Posted under: Northeast Georgia.

Field Trip Leader: Clayton Webster

Meet:  10:00am, Ingles Parking Lot, 176 US 441, Clayton, GA. Ingles is on the right as you head north on US 441, just after passing the turn offs for US 76 east and west, and passing Wendy’s and Burger King. We will carpool to Patterson Gap off of Betty’s Creek Road due to limited parking at the trailhead.

Description:  This hike has two options. Number 1 – We will hike from 3,323 foot Patterson Gap to Till Ridge Cove to see the spectacular display of trillium grandiflorum in this rich cove. We should also see nearly two dozen other spring ephemerals in bloom, including showy orchis, Mayapples, star chickweed, bluets, foam flower, wild geraniums, and Solomon seal.   Those who return to Patterson Gap will have a little less than two mile round trip. Number 2 – Those who would like to continue on up to 4,169 foot Nichols Gap to eat lunch will enjoy great views down into the Betty’s Creek Valley and across and up to Pickens Nose, 5,007 Ridgepole Mountain, and 5,280 foot tall Albert Mountain. These hikers will have covered a little over five miles.

Note 1: You will have to decide which option you want to choose at our meeting point for carpool assignments.

Note 2: This area was included in the Rock Mountain fire last fall, so we are not sure how that has affected the spring wildflowers.

Bring:  Water, lunch, bug spray, and rain gear

Facilities: None except at meeting place.

Walking difficulty: Option one is easy. Option two is moderate. Trail is not regularly maintained.

Group limit: 20 due to parking limitations

Registration: Sign up so carpools can be determined

Contact:  Clayton Webster  404-633-8955 Home 678-925-1091 Cell (day of hike)




Sunday, April 23, 2017, Spring Flora and Ferns, East Palisades, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Cobb County

Posted under: Atlanta area.

East Palisades, CRNRA

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

East Palisades, Indian Ridge to Cabin Creek Loop Trail

Spring Flora, Ferns, and Fun

Sunday; April 23, 2017

10:00 am to 3:30 pm

Trip Leader: Jerry Hightower

Description: Join the Georgia Botanical Society and National Park Service Naturalist Jerry Hightower for a look at this beautiful area in spring’s glory and the sunset from Overlook Ridge where you will enjoy the grand view above Devil’s Race Course Shoals of this very scenic section of river.  We will take Cabin Creek Trail through a beautiful forest in its along Cabin Creek and hike up the ridge past Civil War gun emplacements .  We will travel above rock cliffs, through mature oak-hickory forest, mesic ravine forest, and floodplain forest. Our hike will take us over and past extraordinary rock outcrops and formations influenced by the Brevard Fault, which runs through the Unit.  We will see spring wildflowers, ferns, and perhaps a salamander or two.

Location: Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, East Palisades Unit; meet at 10:00 am in the Indian Trail parking area and trail head; 1425 Indian Trail NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30327 at the bulletin board.  Go south on Northside Drive and Indian Trail is the fourth street on the right.  Indian Trail goes directly into the park.  

Facilities:  None

Difficulty:  Moderately strenuous.  There are several steep ascents and descents.

Bring: Remember to bring a lunch to eat in the forest.  Dress for the weather and wear very comfortable hiking shoes.  Dress in layers so that you can adjust to changes in the temperature and your activity level.  Carry water. You may wish to bring binoculars, hand lens, notebook, and camera.  Note: A $3. daily entrance fee or $35. annual pass is required.

Limit:  30 persons                                                                                                                       

Please contact Jerry Hightower at 770-206-0338 or if you are planning on joining this trip.

Additional programs continued on next page


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