The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain Status Update 3/2/2016

As reported a month back, Hepatica, Harbinger-of-Spring, and a Star Chickweed were blooming at The Pocket at the end of January as a result of our unusually warm winter. We had some cold weather in February, and nothing much had changed in mid-February. My wife and I were out of town for a couple of weeks, so when we returned yesterday, I was anxious to see what had developed in our absence. While the boardwalk itself doesn’t show too much action, there is a lot that is cranking up both on the trail to the bottom of the falls past the end of the boardwalk and on the Pocket Loop Trail (aka the horse trail) up to the top of the falls.

Bloodroot - Sanguinaria canadensis

Bloodroot – Sanguinaria canadensis

Yes, Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is blooming along the horse trail – I haven’t see it this early in four years, implying (as expected) an early spring this year.

Here is what we found blooming today –

  • Hepatica (Anemone acutiloba) – Plentiful, and really nice along the horse trail, but looking a bit past prime along the boardwalk and the trail to the bottom of the falls, probably because it started so early.
  • Harbinger-of-Spring (Erigenia bulbosa) – Quite abundant.
  • Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata) – Quite of few of these blooming, but most have more buds than open flowers.
  • Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) – As mentioned above, quite a few are blooming along the horse trail.
  • Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) – We saw two of these lovely plants blooming along the trail to the bottom of the falls.
Rue Anemone - Thalictrum thalictroides

Rue Anemone – Thalictrum thalictroides

  • Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) – Many were blooming along the trail to the bottom of the falls, but since we were pretty late in the day, none remained open to provide a good photo opportunity.
  • Long-spurred Violet (Viola rostrata) – A few are blooming along the Pocket Loop Trail.
Long-spurred violet - Viola rostrata

Long-spurred violet – Viola rostrata

  • Star Chickweed (Stellaria pubera) – A few were blooming in mid-February; many are blooming now.
  • Purple Phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida) – A few blossoms on two plants were open along the trail to the bottom of the falls.
Purple Phacelia, Fernleaf Phacelia - Phacelia bipinnatifida

Purple Phacelia – Phacelia bipinnatifida

  • Field Pansies (Viola bicolor) are blooming along the driveway between the ford thru the creek and the parking lot.

Noteworthy foliage:

  • Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica) – A lot of leaves pushing up, and this wouldn’t be worthy of mention except that one plant was showing some pink buds, implying it will be open fairly soon. It will be an outlier from the rest of the population, though.
  • Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) – Many of these plants are 6 to 8 inches tall.
  • Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) Lots of leaves up, but no buds showing.
  • Trailing Trillium (Trillium decumbens) – Plants are everywhere, some developing buds, but no color showing. These take a LONG time to mature.

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4 thoughts on “The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain Status Update 3/2/2016

  1. Bruce Roberts

    It looks like I missed a few things along the trail up to the waterfall. I was just about to step off the boardwalk and head that way when I looked at my watch and realized I was running out of time to get back over the other side of the mountain to look for a waterfall on Waterfall Branch. I found it (I posted a pic on Flickr); cool place although barely a trickle flowing; the stone-bedded creek bed was very cool too. But the creek gorge there had hundreds of thousands of trout lily leaves emerging, and many other wildflowers also. I want to go back in a week or two; it may rival the Pocket, although I’d be surprised if it had the variety…


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