Long Leaf Pine “Bottle Brush”

Before the industrialist loggers of the early 20th century arrived, the Longleaf Pine dominated the upland areas surrounding the Okefenokee Swamp. Because of its ability to survive wildfires in its fire resistant “grass stage”, the Longleaf is well suited to the fire prone South Georgia landscape. The thick, grassy clump of needles protects the budContinue reading “Long Leaf Pine “Bottle Brush””

Okefenokee Southern Blue Flag Iris

In the spring, there are splashes of purple and blue along the canoe trails of the Okefenokee Swamp.  I have primarily found this beautiful Iris along the Suwannee River Middle Fork (red trail) where the channel is still wide, but taller trees provide some shade. The leaves protrude from the water a few feet andContinue reading “Okefenokee Southern Blue Flag Iris”

Okefenokee Tiger Moth Caterpillar

The Okefenokee blackwater is decorated in the spring with the golden fingers and bright green plumes of the Golden Club plant (Orontium aquaticum). The waxy leaves are shed water droplets and always seem dry, hence the name “Neverwet.” ​ As I had my canoe anchored on a bed of bonnet lilies to photograph some GoldenContinue reading “Okefenokee Tiger Moth Caterpillar”

Okefenokee Gold Mine

The Okefenokee continues to make the news as conservationists sound the alarm against a proposal from Twin Pines Minerals to mine thousands of acres alongside the National Wildlife Refuge. This mining operation isn’t a modern day gold rush, but a search for titanium dioxide. Even so, there is Gold in the Okefenokee! A different sortContinue reading “Okefenokee Gold Mine”

Okefenokee Gator Taters

The waters of the Okefenokee Swamp, particularly the more open lakes, are often covered in bright green lily pads. The large white blooms of the American White Water Lily, Nymphaea odorata, might be the more recognizable of the species, but on my springtime trips, the Yellow Bonnet Lily, or Spatterdock, is more prevalent. ​ The YellowContinue reading “Okefenokee Gator Taters”

The Long Moss

An excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, Part II, Chapter III: “The long moss, so called, is a singular and surprising vegetable production: it grows from the limbs and twigs of all trees in these southern regions, from N. lat. 35 down as far as 28, and I believe every where within the tropics. Wherever it fixes itself,Continue reading “The Long Moss”

Okefenokee Golden Club Fruit

On our May 2020 Okefenokee canoe trek, the Golden Clubs were no longer sporting many of those beautiful yellow and white spikes that were abundant in early spring. But upon paddling close to a plume of leaves, I saw something a bit different floating in the tannin waters… fruit! Either I had overlooked the fruitContinue reading “Okefenokee Golden Club Fruit”

New Hope from a Young Cypress

There is hope in seeing a young Okefenokee Cypress taking root and reaching toward the sky. The naturalists of old write of towering cypress – some as high as 120 feet – standing guard for centuries in the Okefenokee. But all that changed in the early 20th century. All were laid low. The height, girth,Continue reading “New Hope from a Young Cypress”

Okefenokee Oak Mistletoe

A large clump of thick green leaves sits high in otherwise bare tree. The thick glossy leaves growing are completely unlike the normal foliage furled out by that tree in the spring. This makes Mistletoe easy to spot, especially in the winter. Its parasitic nature – stealing water and nutrients from its host – isContinue reading “Okefenokee Oak Mistletoe”

Okefenokee Beauty and Charm

From the broad, sweeping bird’s-eye-view, down to the smallest detail of living organism, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is full of beauty and charm. Perhaps alligators and snakes are the first thing conjured in the mind upon hearing the word “swamp”, but peace, solitude and fascination come to my thoughts. My first visits to theContinue reading “Okefenokee Beauty and Charm”