Purple Phacelia – Native Plant of the Day 03/22/2017
Photo from 03/26/2009. Location: The Pocket, Walker County, Ga.
More photos / info at the Phacelia bipinnatifida detail page.
It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I made it down to The Pocket – my apologies for the paucity of status updates this year. Even more species (38) are blooming now than two weeks ago (28), even though we’ve lost, or nearly lost, a few. I only saw a single Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) bloom, Harbinger-of-Spring is gone, Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) has completed its bloom, there are only a few Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) still blooming, Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) are essentially gone, and I couldn’t find the single Pennywort (Obolaria virginica) I saw two weeks ago.
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.
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.
Painted Trillium, a native species, has been added to the USWildflowers database (07/05/2015.) Scientific name is Phacelia fimbriata. Photo below was taken in the Great Smoky Mountains near Newfound Gap on May 05, 2015. Go to the Fringed Phacelia detail page for more photos and information.
The Georgia Botanical Society made their trip to Cloudland Canyon State Park on Saturday, April 11, and I saw their photo report on Facebook. That, and a report from Richard Ware’s Sunday trip to the same location, inspired me to take advantage of a break in this week’s rain on Tuesday to get back over to Sitton’s Gulch to see the Dwarf Larkspur, Southern Red Trillium, and other wildflowers. It was a great choice, with at least 34 species of wildflower observed.
The rest of the story…
While some of the early bloomers are gone – no more Dutchman’s Breeches, for example – this is STILL a great time for a visit to The Pocket. My growing wildflower checklist for The Pocket is up to 59 species now, and 41 of them are blooming now, even though a few of those are almost gone. If you want to see Bluebells, better hurry; they are declining fast. The Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) are gone, and I only saw one small patch of Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana). All three Trillium species are still in full glory, but probably the dominant species blooming right now are Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata), and Purple Phacelia (Phacelia bipinnatifida), which you’ll see all along the Pocket Road on your way in to the parking area.
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This is a great time for a visit to The Pocket; I hadn’t been able to get down there in nearly 3 weeks (apologies to those that were looking for a status report last week) and so many species are blooming now! Bluebells, Wood Poppies (Celandine), Purple Phacelia, and all three Trillium species are at peak, along with a couple of others that aren’t considered “signature species” for The Pocket.
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