The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain Status Update 4/3/2014

This is a great time for a visit to The Pocket. (See end of this post for my guess on 4/10 status.)  On Thursday, 4/3/2014, my wife and I walked up the Pocket Loop Trail, and then went back down to the parking area to meet up with a homeschool group who had invited me to join them for their visit to help identify the flowers they saw.  We walked the Shirley Miller boardwalk and extension trail up to the falls with this great group of moms and their children.  Several of the “signature species” are still blooming – Virginia Bluebell, Wood (Celandine) Poppy, Dutchman’s Breeches, and all three of the Pocket’s three Trillium species are blooming right now.  35 of the 55 species on my current version of the checklist are blooming right now.

Eastern Red Columbine, Wild Columbine - Aquilegia canadensis

Eastern Red Columbine – Aquilegia canadensis

We also ran into Clayton Webster and some more of the Over the Hill Hiking Group that I met last week.  We had a nice visit exchanging information on what to look for blooming – they were coming from where we were going, and vice versa…

For the rest of the story…

First, the list of what is STILL blooming from my report of 3/27 –

      • Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis) – Just a few blooming here and there.
      • Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata) – Flowers are basically gone; we found one or two still blooming.
      • Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) – Continue to be plentiful.
      • Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) – Starting their decline, but still many blooming
      • Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica) – Peak.
      • Wood Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) – Peak, some starting to form their fuzzy fruits.
      • Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) – Only a couple still hanging on to blossoms on the Shirley Miller trail, still several still blooming across the creek north of the parking area.
      • Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) – Plentiful.
      • Long-spurred Violet (Viola rostrata) – Still abundant.
      • Yellow Violet (Viola philadelphica, I think) – Many along the boardwalk.
      • Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) – Quite plentiful.
      • Canada Violet (Viola canadensis) – Abundant.
      • Field Pansy (Viola bicolor) – We saw a few of these along the driveway down to the boardwalk.
      • Purple Phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida) – These are probably at peak, although I noticed a number of plants still with flower buds only.  Jeannette, of the homeschool group, spotted an unusual white form of this normally purple plant.

        Purple Phacelia, Fernleaf Phacelia - Phacelia bipinnatifida

        Purple Phacelia, white form – Phacelia bipinnatifida

      • Cumberland Spurge (Euphorbia mercurialina) – Many along the Pocket Loop Trail on the way up to the falls; didn’t notice as many as last week.
      • Star Chickweed (Stellaria pubera) – Abundant.
      • Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) – Peak. I really like this plant that many folks seem to just ho-hum their way by.  Make sure you take a really close look at the individual flowers.
      • Plantainleaf Pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia)
      • Trailing Trillium (Trillium decumbens) – Abundant, probably peak.
      • Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) – Several blooming on the bluff along the bluff along the Pocket Loop Trail; photo above.  Buds forming elsewhere.
      • Redbud (Cercis canadensis) – I’m going to call this “peak.”
      • Wild Blue Phox (Phlox divaricata) – Many along the Pocket Loop Trail on the way up to the falls, several along the boardwalk.
      • False Garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve) – These bloom in the field above the falls (as well as in my back yard); I didn’t get to the field this trip, but assume they are still blooming.
      • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) – Just starting to bloom along the parking area and driveway.

What has started blooming since the report of 3/27/2014:

  • Robin’s Plantain (Erigeron pulchellus) – Quite a number are blooming now.

    Robin's Plantain - Erigeron pulchellus

    Robin’s Plantain – Erigeron pulchellus

  • Woodland Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum) – I thought many would be blooming this week, but only found one.  I seem to remember waiting interminably for them to bloom last year.
  • Trillium flexipes and T. cuneatum both are blooming.
  • Pennywort (Obolaria virginica) – I saw the one plant near the top of the falls along the Pocket Loop Trail.
  • Bishop’s Cap (Mitella diphylla) – Quite a number blooming along the extension trail to the falls.
  • Heartleaf Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) – These are at peak or nearly so.  Beautiful!

    Heartleaf Foamflower, False Miterwort - Tiarella cordifolia

    Heartleaf Foamflower – Tiarella cordifolia

  • Crested Dwarf Iris (Iris cristata) – A single plant about to bloom in the dense patch on the downhill slope a short ways up the Pocket Loop Trail, but several blooming on the uphill side of the trail a bit further along.
  • Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) – Quite a number blooming.
  • Geranium (Geranium maculatum) – Quite a few, but I don’t think they’re quite at peak yet.
  • Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) – A few blooming, both on the way to the falls, and along the Pocket Loop Trail.
  • White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) – We saw a single plant blooming along the boardwalk.
  • Violet Wood Sorrel (Oxalis violacea) – A few blooming along the Pocket Loop Trail.
  • Ragwort, Roundleaf (Packera obovata) – Several blooming along the Pocket Loop Trail.

    Roundleaf Ragwort - Packera obovata

    Roundleaf Ragwort – Packera obovata

These are forming buds:

  • Wild Blue Hyacinth (Camassia scilloides) – Flower buds forming.

Update 04/10/2014:  Due to activities elsewhere, I won’t be able to make it down to The Pocket this week. Based on last week’s status for Trillium flexipes (Bent White Trillium), I’m guessing they will be about peak right now, a beautiful sight.  Possibly the Wild Blue Hyacinth (Camassia scilloides) will be blooming now as well.  Columbine were starting last week along the Pocket Loop Trail (“horse trail”) nearly up to the top of the falls, so they will likely be in full force by now, and I think Woodland Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum) will be blooming now as well.

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2 thoughts on “The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain Status Update 4/3/2014

  1. Bruce Roberts

    We were there on Tuesday, the 1st. It was a great display(!) although the conditions for really good wildflower photos sorta went downhill as the afternoon progressed. First the clouds disappeared and it turned sunny, with resultant dappled light in the woods. Then a slight breeze kicked in, just enough to rustle the flowers. But still got some good shots. I was surprised how many folks were there on a Tuesday. Two groups of 10-12 before us (in addition to smaller parties)…

    1. Gerry Post author

      Thanks for the update, Bruce. I was surprised at how “crowded” it was Thursday, not even including our home school group. That wind is the bane of wildflower photographers!


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