Wildflowers at The Pocket 03/11/2012

Purple Phacelia, Fernleaf Phacelia - Phacelia bipinnatifida

Purple Phacelia, Fernleaf Phacelia – Phacelia bipinnatifida

I wasn’t planning on going down to The Pocket this weekend, but my wife had other plans for Sunday, so she suggested that I do something to take advantage of the beautiful day, so I headed down there shortly after getting home from church.  In addition to walking the boardwalk and the trail up to the falls, I did a little back country walking above the bluff north of the horse trail.  Wildflowers are abundant; here is my report, and a couple of photos taken off the beaten path in The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain.

The Phacelia are blooming.  There is a Phacelia in the field to the right as you walk down to the boardwalk; they are blooming along the boardwalk and all the way up to the falls.  The photo above was taken up on the top of the north bluff.

As a reminder, Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Management Area is now a fee area – check here for more information.  Also note that the two breaks in the boardwalk I reported a couple of weeks ago have been repaired – that quick work might be the direct result of the fees we are now paying for use of the area.

The Plantain-leaf Pussytoes have started blooming since our visit to The Pocket two weeks ago.  They are abundant in the forest along the top of the ridge north of the horse trail.

Plantain-leaf Pussytoes - Antennaria plantaginifolia by USWildflowers, on Flickr

Plantain-leaf Pussytoes, Woman’s Tobacco – Antennaria plantaginifolia

Cumberland Spurge is blooming now, also in the forest above the horse trail.  While these are certainly not a showy plant, they are interesting.

Cumberland Spurge - Euphorbia mercurialina by USWildflowers, on Flickr

Cumberland Spurge, Mercury Spurge – Euphorbia mercurialina

Dwarf Cinquefoil has started blooming.  These were on the bank along the gravel road before reaching the parking area at The Pocket.

Dwarf Cinquefoil - Potentilla canadensis by USWildflowers, on Flickr

Wild Geranium – Geranium maculatum – at The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain


Here are other species currently blooming:

  • Speaking to a lady that was sitting on one of the boardwalk benches, I had expressed my surprise that the Trout Lilies were not still blooming.  However, the reality was that they weren’t blooming in a large area where we had seen them last week, but on toward the back of the boardwalk and up the trail to the falls they were even more abundant than two weeks ago.  There are also several blooming along the front section of the walk.  Along the creek above the falls there are several huge patches of them.
  • Star Chickweed is abundant.
  • The Dutchman’s Breeches seem to be at their peak right now.  This is the longest bloom period for this lovely plant I’ve observed in the several years I’ve been visiting The Pocket.
  • Carolina Spring Beauty is still abundant all along the boardwalk and the trail to the falls.
  • Geranium maculatum is blooming now, particularly between the boardwalk and the creek.
  • Bloodroot are still blooming, although they seem to be fairly scarce now.
  • Toothwort blossoms are still around, but are much fewer now.  The dominant species is Cardamine concatenata – Cutleaf Toothwort.
  • Violets are everywhere – Common Blue Violets, Long-spurred Violets, Canada Violets, Roundleaf Yellow Violets, Sweet White Violets are found.  Some Field Pansies are blooming along the driveway to the beginning of the boardwalk.
  • Two weeks ago you might miss the occasional Rue Anemone that were blooming among the sea of Hepatica.  The role has reversed, as most of the white flowers I saw blooming Sunday were Rue Anemone.
  • Virginia Bluebell are at their peak now.
  • Wood Poppies may also be at their peak.
  • Blue Cohosh is in full bloom.
  • Foamflower is in full swing.
  • The Columbine along the trails are forming their buds.  There are some blooming in out of the way places on sunny bluffs.



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