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Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve Outing with Paul Somers

Sponsored by the Southeast Coast chapter

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Retired botanist Paul Somers led an outing to Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve and the surrounding area.
Thanks to Lara for her photographs!

Gathering for the walk

Paul gives an overview of the Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve habitats which include Coastal Fringe Sandhills, wet pine flatwoods, pine savannas, and pond pine woodlands (a wooded form of pocosin.)

Pineland Silkgrass, Pityopsis aspera

Pineland Silkgrass is named for the silver, silky hairs that cover the grass-like leaves. It has yellow, daisy-like flowers in late June to October.

Sandmyrtle habitat

On the outer coastal plain, Sand-myrtle, Kalmia buxifolium (formerly Leiophyllum buxifolium), is "locally abundant but very restricted in wet (spodosol) pinelands." (Weakley)

Sand-myrtle, Kalmia buxifolium

Creeping Blueberry, Vaccinium crassifolium

Low-growing and evergreen, Creeping Blueberry forms mats in pine flatwoods and savannas. It has pinkish-white flowers in April.

Coastal Fringe Sandhills habitat

This habitat type has an open to sparse canopy of mostly Longleaf Pine with Sand Live Oak and Turkey Oak beneath. Shrubs include Inkberry, Wax-myrtle, American Olive and Southern Dwarf Huckleberry. Wiregrass often dominates the herb layer.

Shining Fetterbush, Lyonia lucida

Shining Fetterbush has glossy leaves with a prominent vein running along the edges. Fragrant flowers usually appear in April. It prefers a pocosin or wet woods habitat.

Taking home photographs!

Loblolly Bay, Gordonia lasianthus

An important pocosin species and, together with Sweet Bay (Magnolia virginiana) and Red Bay (Persea palustris,) it is one of the three "bays" that are so hard at first to tell apart. It's the only one with serrated edges on the leaf tips and the tree has a distinctive narrow, conical shape.

Witch-grass, Dicanthelium

"Perhaps the most complex and confusing genus in our region, Dichanthelium requires careful collection and close observation of several characters to determine to which taxon a specimen belongs, or at least to which taxa it seems most closely aligned. A taxon that is distinct in one part of its range may be indistinguishable from another taxon elsewhere. This is particularly true of Coastal Plain species adapted to natural (and now human) disturbances." Weakley

Southern Prickly-pear, Opuntia humifusa

Dwarf Wax-myrtle (Morella pumila) habitat

Dwarf Wax-myrtle grows in savannas and pine flatwoods, adapting to relatively moist to extremely dry soils.

Dwarf Wax-myrtle, Morella pumila

Turkey Oak buds, Quercus laevis

Turkey Oak in bloom

"Sugar sand"

Coastal Fringe Sandhill habitat, showing the characteristic "sugar sand", very dry, sandy soil. The land on the left has been recently burned.

Common Pixie-moss, Pyxidanthera barbulata

Pixie-moss is a tiny, evergreen sub-shrub, growing in pine flatwoods, savannas and pocosin edges. Photographed by Paul Somers.

The best way to see Sand-myrtle!

Using the hand lens...

Slender Bladderwort, Utricularia subulata

Bladderworts are carnivorous plants. In terrestrial bladderworts like this one, the bladder traps are under the soil. Tiny animals swimming in the water-saturated soil are sucked into the partially vacuum-sealed bladders when they break the seal by brushing against certain hairs. The lid then recloses and the animal is slowly digested.

Redroot, Lachnanthes caroliniana

Redroot has leaves like an iris, white, woolly flowers in June and a really red root!

Rhexia seed pods

These urn-shaped seed pods are distinctive for the various species of Rhexia (Meadow Beauty).

Ditch ecology

Paul also took the group botanizing along the roadsides, ditches and depressions near Boiling Springs Lake Preserve.

Seed capsules of Yellow-eyed Grass, Xyris sp.

Pond Pine, Pinus serotina

American Holly, Ilex opaca

Our thanks to Paul for sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of plants (and he is new to the Southeast coast!) both as a leader for this walk and as a participant on other walks this past year.  We are so glad to have him as part of the chapter.

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