CAROLINA DREAMIN’

 

Trout Lily blooms in South Carolina's Sumter National Forest
Trout Lily blooms in South Carolina's Sumter National Forest

A four mile hike is difficult to plan right in the middle of a 500+ mile day’s drive, but it was accomplished by an hour of planning the night before. Sumter National Forest somehow just fell into the 250 mile point of the trip.  This trail winds along a creek valley that is part of the Savannah River watershed. We had no idea what to expect.  We were immediately greeted by a colony of blooming Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum).

Trout Lily Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina
Trout Lily, Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina

We have whole colonies in Morris Park, which we admire every year.  It was great to find them early, 800 miles away from Philadelphia.  Here they were blooming a month before the time they bloom in Morris Park.

We noticed that the hillside where they were growing is next to a creek, just like in Morris Park, Pennypack Park, and West and East Fairmount Park.

Trout Lily Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina
Trout Lily, Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina

What a joy to behold after sitting in the car for six hours.

Trout Lily Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina
Trout Lily, Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina

Below are beeches and oaks: a scene familiar to us in Morris Park.

 Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina
Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina

As we made our way further down the hill, Rue anemone started to make an appearance.  These flowers seem to float above the leaf layer in elegant drifts.

  Rue-Anemone, Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina
Rue Anemone, Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina

We found some white ones and some pink-purples ones.

Rue-Anemone, Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina
Rue-Anemone, Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina

The delicate folded leaves await the moment to open and gather sunlight.

Rue-Anemone, Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina
Rue Anemone, Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina

All the flower and the leaves are created from the energy stores in their root system, which was entirely gathered from last year’s photosynthesis.

Note the long and delicate stem:

Rue-Anemone, Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina
Rue Anemone, Sumter National Forest near Edgefield South Carolina
Trillium emerges from the earth - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina
Trillium emerges from the earth - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina

We don’t know what species it was, except that it was a sessile trillium.  Our best guess is Trillium reliquum, according to the book Trilliums by Frederick W. Case, Jr. and Roberta B. Case.

Podophyllum peltatum emerging from the earth - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina
Podophyllum peltatum emerging from the earth - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina

We only saw two specimens of Mayapple in our four mile walk.  Still, definitely a delight.

Geranium maculatum - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina
Geranium maculatum - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina

We see the wild geranium grow in Morris Park amongst Mayapple and Bloodroot.

Sanguinaria canadensis blooming - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina
Sanguinaria canadensis blooming - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina

This is our first blooming bloodroot of the year 2011.  In Florida, it had already bloomed.  Of course it hasn’t even poked out of the leaf layer in Pennsylvania yet.  Our trip has been like a space and time machine, giving us a early peek at spring.

What a joy it is to see a blooming Sanguinaria canadensis!

Isabelle Dijols overjoyed to see a bloodroot flower for the first time in 2011 - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina
Isabelle Dijols overjoyed to see a bloodroot flower for the first time in 2011 - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina
Bloodroot makes its way through the dense leaf litter - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina
Bloodroot makes its way through the dense leaf litter - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina

The trail had mile markers, which helped us gauge how far to walk before we should turn around, being that we had another 250 miles to cover that day.

Last but not least, we loved the sign they had at the trail head.  Enjoy:

Demonstrating Critters: Sign at Trail Head - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina
Demonstrating Critters: Sign at Trail Head - Sumter National Forest, South Carolina