The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain Status Update 3/27/2014

Yesterday (3/27) was one of the rare days this spring – mostly clear skies and warmer weather – into the 60’s. As a plus a couple of my grandkids wanted to join me, so a great time at The Pocket was guaranteed.  Several of the “signature species” at The Pocket – Virginia Bluebell, Wood (Celandine) Poppy, Dutchman’s Breeches (or, as my grandson called them, “Upside Down Pants from Holland), Trout Lily are blooming right now.  I’m developing a checklist to use so I won’t have to photograph or remember what all is blooming, and of the 51 species on my current version of the checklist, 25 are blooming right now.

Trailing Trillium (Trillium decumbens)

Trailing Trillium – Trillium decumbens

For the rest of the story…

First, the list of what is STILL blooming from my report of 3/18 –

  • Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis) – Still plentiful, but definitely getting past prime.  What is blooming now is above this year’s leaves rather than last year’s.
  • Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata) – Still abundant and beautiful.
  • Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) – I only found one blooming.  I’m sure I missed a couple but these are mostly gone…
  • Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) – Plentiful, beautiful, everywhere.

    Carolina Spring Beauty with Cutleaf Toothwort

    Carolina Spring Beauty peeking out from behind the leaflets of a Cutleaf Toothwort

  • Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) – Peak!
  • Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica) – Probably at peak.
  • Wood Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) – Many blooming.
  • Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) – Abundant.  An especially nice, densely populated area is right across the creek above the falls along The Pocket Loop Trail.
  • Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) – These are supplanting Hepatica as the primary white-blooming flower now.
  • Long-spurred Violet (Viola rostrata) – These are abundant now, especially along the Pocket Loop Trail.
  • Yellow Violet (Viola pubescens, I think) – Many along the boardwalk.
  • Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) –
  • Cumberland Spurge (Euphorbia mercurialina) – Many along the Pocket Loop Trail on the way up to the falls.
  • Star Chickweed (Stellaria pubera) – Now more like what I was expecting 10 days ago.

What has started blooming since the report of 3/18/2014:

  • Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) – Not as far along as I expected, but many plants have a few of the tiny green blossoms fully open.
  • Plantainleaf Pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia) – Fully open this week.

    Plantainleaf Pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia)

    Plantainleaf Pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia)

  • Trailing Trillium (Trillium decumbens) – Just a few are open. This one one the bluffs along the Pocket Loop Trail, shown in the first photo in this article, was about 3 inches across, leaftip to leaftip.
  • Purple Phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida) – A single blossom on a single plant was open on the Pocket Loop Trail bluff.
  • Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) – A single blossom was fully opened, with several others close, on a couple of plants near the above-mentioned bluffs.
  • Canada Violet (Viola canadensis) – Found a single plant blooming along the trail above the falls.
  • Sweet White VIolet (Viola blanda) – I noticed one or two of these open.
  • Field Pansy (Viola bicolor) – I found a pair in the field above the falls.
  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis) – The Pigeon Mountain Redbuds seem to bloom a bit later than those in many areas.  They are starting now.
  • Wild Blue Phox (Phlox divaricata) – Along the Pocket Loop Trail on the way up to the falls I found a single blossom open, with quite a number waiting in the wings.
  • False Garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve) – These bloom in the field above the falls (as well as in my back yard.)

These are about to bloom – most probably within a week:

  • Robin’s Plantain (Erigeron pulchellus) – I thought at least one would be blooming by now, but instead it’s just real close.

    Robin’s Plantain (Erigeron pulchellus)

    Robin’s Plantain (Erigeron pulchellus)

  • Woodland Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum) – Another that I thought was close enough to be blooming this week, but, while much closer, I still didn’t find one blooming.
  • Trillium flexipes and T. cuneatum both have buds, and we spotted one T. flexipes with white showing, but none that we saw open yet.
  • Pennywort (Obolaria virginica) – As I mentioned in the prior report, I saw several plants then.  This trip, however, I only spotted one, and it wasn’t quite open yet.  This one was in a spot where there were two plants previously, one of which was the “close” one; I could only find the single plant this time.
  • Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) – While I didn’t check the Mayapples that can be found near The Pocket parking area, those on the east side of Pigeon Mountain had well-formed flower buds.
  • Bishop’s Cap (Mitella diphylla) – I spotted a couple of plants along the Shirley Miller Trail extension to the falls with flower buds forming.
  • Heartleaf Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) – There were several plants with their long peduncles holding dense clusters of flower buds.
  • Crested Dwarf Iris (Iris cristata) – Probably more than a week away, but the dense patch on the downhill slope a short ways up the Pocket Loop Trail has leaves quite apparent.
  • False Solomon’s Seal, Solomon’s Plume (Maianthemum racemosum) – These are probably well more than a week away from blooming, but I wanted to mention them here. I ran into a very nice hiking group from Atlanta along the boardwalk, and had a nice chat with them. I was mis-identifying a sprouting False Solomon’s Seal (or perhaps a Solomon’s Seal) as a Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora).  The knowledgeable leader of the group pointed out some feature that made it clear that it was not a Bellwort.  Much appreciation. With my memory (remember, my memory “issues” is one of the reasons I started I can’t recall the name of the hiking group (Over the Hill Hikers?) or that of the gentleman who founded the group and help me with that identification.  I’d love a comment with that information!

Update:  Clayton Webster provided me with access to the photographs taken by a member of the Over the Hill Hiking Group, and this group found Bishop’s Cap (Mitella diphylla), Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum), and Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) blooming; I missed these. “It takes a village.” Also based on their slideshow, I learned a new (to me) common name for Hepatica – Liverleaf.

Good news: Blue Hole Road is open.  I can also report that Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla)  is blooming over on the eastern side of the mountain.

Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla)

Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla)



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6 thoughts on “The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain Status Update 3/27/2014

  1. Clayton Webster

    “Trail Boss” Clayton Webster and the Over the Hill Hikers enjoyed meeting Mr. Williamson yesterday on the Shirley Miller Trail. We often refer to this website as a resource to determine when to visit this special place. Our group is on Facebook as Over the Hill Hiking Group.
    We have great slideshows and “Trip Reports” of all our trips. Send me an e-mail and I’ll send you a sampling of great, great wildflower slideshows of all over North Georgia.

  2. Mary

    My husband and I have been fans of your web page for several years; we consider you our ‘scout’ for when it’s time to visit The Pocket. We were there yesterday (3/27) also and saw your vehicle in the parking lot; you must have moved on to the Loop Trail when we started on the Boardwalk. I am so sorry we missed you; I would love to share your knowledge and love for wildflowers in person some day.

    1. Gerry Post author

      Mary – Sorry I missed you. My grandson, granddaughter, and I went up to the top when we reached the falls – there is a ledge trail up if you *carefully* cross the creek just below the falls. The rocks are VERY slippery, and the ledge trail is narrow, but it makes for a nice loop rather than a couple of out-and-backs.

      Perhaps our paths will cross again in the future.


  3. Jeannette


    Thank you so much for this webpage! Will you by any chance be available this Thursday 1/4 around 2 pm as a guide for a group of homeschool moms and children? Please reply asap. Thank you.


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