Sunday, September 05, 2010

Coastal NC Wildflowers

Last Sunday my friends and I did the Southport Butterfly Count. With exception of the Cloudless Sulphurs flying everywhere it was as quoted "Never seen so many great butterfly wildflowers with so few butterflies, surely it could not be worse". Anyway 4 parties managed to get 42 species (my group two weeks earlier got 44 species in Durham).

We were assigned the Boiling Springs Lakes area. never been there before. My take was the developers created all these lots and the roads to go with them and most were not sold. So we drove down abandoned roads that lead nowhere. I was driving and saw these White Fringed Orchids and we stopped to check them out. 

 White Fringed Orchid

Platanthera blephariglottis (Habenaria blephariglottis) As we (4 of us) were photographing these orchids Will noticed we were nearly stepping on Venus Flytraps!

I've only seen Venus Flytrap, Dionaea muscipula a few times in the 25 years I have lived in NC.
This one has a grasshopper it caught! I'm sure most of you know that is a carnivorous plant that catches and digests animal prey—mostly insects and arachnids.
These plants were growing quite well in a boggy spot on one of the Boiling Springs Lakes lots with a for sale sign in front of it. Back in 1992 it was determined  that only 35,800 Venus Flytraps  remaining in nature as they are found growing native in only 2 counties in NC and one county in SC. Back then it was also estimated that 3-6 million plants were growing in cultivation though.
Lots of baby plants growing under the bigger plant. Notice the stalk from the flower, I have seen these in bud but not in flower.

Loblolly-bay, Gordonia lasianthus
These plants are rarely seen in bloom so we were delighted to find this fragrant fresh bloom. Thanks to Will Cook for knowing what is was, he is an expert on woody plants. It is related to the camellia so I was thrilled to get a photo.
Meadow Beauty, Rhexia alifanus We saw lots of of Meadow Beauties. I keyed this out in Radford, according to Radford's there are 5 different meadow beauties in the area we were in.

Rattlebush, Daubentonia punicea
This was new for me or I was having a senior moment! I found on the web that this plant is toxic to humans and that you can by this invasive plant for your garden, duh!! Below is the seed pods which will turn dark brown very quickly.


Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

You have Venus Flytrap there? I didn't know that you live in tropics! This is what I thought about this plant, that it belongs to tropics. I should educate myself! The image of it in your post is outstanding! All the flowers look so good; better than some of the garden flowers.

Randy Emmitt said...


We live just over 100 miles from the Venus Flytrap where it grows as a native. I understand it has been naturalized in FL and perhaps other stats.

Les said...

That orchid is beautiful. The Venus Fly Traps remind me of a trip to London; it was the coldest I have ever been during the month of July. We were at Kew gardens and in one of the pavilions they had a room full of pitcher plants, sundews and fly traps where we lingered. It was hot, humid and felt like home.

Cameron said...

Beautiful wildflower finds! Too bad about the butterflies, though.

My son was working on an archaeological project down east last month. He came back and tried to describe white flowers -- and after exhausting all of my guesses and not getting it right -- I wonder if he saw the orchids? I'll send him a link to your blog. He's working up north again.

Wonderful to see the Venus Flytrap. I don't think I've seen one in the wild since I was a kid.

tina said...

Forget the butterflies-the wildflowers are really neat. It must be quite a habitat here.

Ginger said...

I didn't know venus flytraps grew in the wild! amazing shot with the caught prey!

Kimberly said...

Orchids and flytraps in one trip...impressive! I've never seen a flytrap in the wild. I wonder if they would thrive in my little FL yard? Hmmmm!!!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

You found some awesome wild flowers. I love the white fringed orchid! I am excited about seeing the venus flytraps. I don't imagine I'll ever see one growing in the wild, so it's cool you shared yours.

Thanks for helping with the identification of my insects. I was wondering how many different kinds of skippers I have.

Kellie Dobbie said...

Despite being poisonous, that rattlebush flower is a beauty! You also have a good quality camera, the images are clear and sharp.

wiseacre said...

Great find, I'd be tempted to stick my finger in a trap if I wasn't afraid of poisoning the plant.

The closest thing to a Flytrap around here are Sundews.

Skeeter said...

My goodness, if that rattle bush dosen't look similar to the Cassia! I google it and found they have yellow blooms as well! Geesh, I will surely get confused now...

Carol said...

Gosh Randy, You may not have seen so many butterflies but these flowers are spectacular! So rare to me and a joy to see here. I love them all... well except the poor grasshoppers demise. What an amazing plant! I cannot get my mine around it though. Beautiful post! ;>)

Shady Gardener said...

Randy, Don't you have such a wonderful time, even if you don't end up with lots of butterfly sightings? I'd love to see the White Fringed Orchid in person.

I HAVE seen Venus Flytraps a couple of different times. What a thrill! And Pitcher Plants, as well. Obviously I wasn't in Iowa for these sightings!

I have a butterfly ID that you could help me with today. (I'm sure you're going to wonder why I don't know what this is!!) oh, well.

Rose said...

How cool to see a Venus Flytrap in the wild! For some reason, I thought they only grew in the tropics. Your butterfly count sounds like so much fun--it would certainly be educational for me.

Thanks for your nice comment on my last post about weeds attracting butterflies. I will have to remember that whenever someone visits my garden:)

Rosey said...

We managed to kill our Venus FT. last fall. My son really got into it while it lasted. I think we killed it with kindness this time. Too much spraying with a mister.

I can't even imagine seeing one in the wild. Very cool!

sweetbay said...

It's a good thing those lots weren't sold. What a shame it would have been to lose all that.

The white orchid is gorgeous. I've seen the orange species before, in the mountains near Hawksbill, but not the white.

Q said...

So very exciting to see Venus Flytraps in the wild....
All your hikes sound so fun.
I have lots and lots of Red Spotted Purples.
They love rotting fruit!