Re: N.C.

James Powell (
Mon, 22 May 95 15:04:43 -0400

I just went to the Green Swamp this weekend after reading Phil
Semanchuk's note "Green Swamp better than Paris in the Spring". This is
definitely the place to go to see many types of cp together (but wear
long pants, not shorts - see below). Five genera are represented, and
several by more than one species.

I had a bit of trouble finding Phil's "Big Island" on my own but
eventually located what must have been it, because of the variety of
plants I encountered. I saw in the wild: large numbers of Venus Flytrap
in bloom, two species of sundew (D. intermedia and a small species),
Utricularia purpurea in bloom, a small butterwort species, and
Sarracenia rubra, purpurea, flava and minor - all four species in bloom.
S. rubra was a surprise as I wasn't expecting it. If it hadn't been
flowering, I think I'd never have found it. Plus I encountered one wild
hybrid Sarracenia - which I believe was a purpurea x rubra - I'm sure of
purpurea parentage as it was almost completely reddish purple and had a
flared though not wavy "lid". It was small and upright. Maybe someone
can identify it from my photos when I get them back.

It took me about three hours of looking to find all the types I saw. I
looked for flytraps for over an hour with no luck on an island just
south of Big Island, before finding one less than two meters from where
I'd left my jeep on the side of the road!!! Same for S. purpurea - it
is hard to spot. And the butterworts were toughest of all, the light
was starting to give out when a friend found some in the grass with
flytraps. I don't know how many times I looked directly at S. rubra
before realizing it was a pitcher plant due to the thin pitchers. And
before I found S. purpurea, I found a single red Sarracenia flower
sticking up from the ground with no pitchers anywhere nearby. I knew
later by size and color that I'd found a pitcherless purpurea.

There is a lot of variation in S. flava and flytraps here. I saw all
green flava, copper colored, red throated, and red veined plants of
various shapes and sizes. Some were huge. Most venus flytraps were
yellow green upright plants with medium to large traps. I saw a few
with a slight reddish tint, and only one flat rossette with dark red
traps. S. minor is very small compared to Okefenokee form and not too
wide spread. S. purpurea was sometimes large green with veins and
sometimes smaller with almost completely purple pitchers.

Insects were scarce. I saw a few spiders and a row of ants marching up
one S. flava pitcher. All the plants looked healthy and I didn't see
any signs of poaching. I ended up with lots of charcoal marks on my
legs and clothes from burned wood, as well as many scratches. The area
had a man-made look to it - like a slightly overgrown pasture and was
generally easy walking except for occasional thorny shrubs and ant
hills. The soil is a fine grayish powder, which looks dry but feels
damp to the touch. Matts of spaghnum moss are scattered about as well.
The place is nothing like the swamps I grew up with, very dry and easy
to walk on.

There were some orchids in bloom. I don't know orchids very well but I
saw a small white flowering type that resembled utricularia to me, and
purple flowered type otherwise identical to the white and a large flower
purple orchid that sort of reminded me of bletilla.

To get there, either find a guide or take route 211 north of Supply
(turn right off 17 just before the Exxon). Watch for a low gray sign
identifying the area as an Ecological Preserve. Then look for a vast
clearing on the right soon after the sign. Just pull off onto the
shoulder and walk along the drainage ditch until you see a pair of poles
spanning the ditch. I could not identify a trail but tried to tread
cautiously. Please watch for the Preserve sign as there appear to be
"hunt clubs" outside the preserve and I have no idea what kind of people
run them but they are liberally POSTED. I think I was wandering around
outside the preserve for a while off one of the sandy fire roads, and
hate to think now what might have happened if I'd stumbled onto a
militia drill or something. If you drive by a shack ringed by dozens of
tattered American flags, you've definitely gone too far!!

It is a lot of fun and you can always zip down to Myrtle Beach for a rest