November 4, 2000
Dear SCAN Members,
Last month I commented on the torrential rains that preceded our September trip; who would have predicted that this would be the last significant rainfall for some 40 days and counting! At any rate, the drought has given us some delightfully beautiful fall days for enjoying the outdoors, and the day of our October trip was no exception. There was an excellent turnout of members new and old to enjoy a tour of one of our most biologically diverse Heritage Preserves. Normally this pine savanna’s soil, which has a high clay and silt content, would be more wet, but the dry weather made for comfortable (if dusty) walking.
Although we were a little late for the best of the fall wildflower show, the plants were still the stars of this trip. Prescribed burns almost every winter or spring suppress woody vegetation and maintain Lynchburg Savanna as a garden of grasses and herbaceous wildflowers. Many of the typical savanna grasses were producing seed, including Little Bluestem, Toothache Grass, Indian Grass, and Muhly. Also shedding seeds were the narrow milkweed-like pods of Indian Hemp, Apocynum cannabinum. Several Asters were still blooming, including Aster tortifolius (White-topped Aster), A. concolor, and A. squarrosus with its tiny crowded leaves and showy blue flowers. Other plants noticed by various SCAN members included the slim, flat-topped Rayless Goldenrod (Chondrophora nudata), and the striking Rattlesnake Master whose Yucca-like leaves belie its place in the carrot family. We also saw the carnivorous Hooded Pitcher Plants and Sundews which are typical of this habitat.
As a special bonus, our leader took us on a brief foray to a Red-cockaded Woodpecker colony at the nearby Longleaf Pine Heritage Preserve. Here several of us were almost rooted in place as we observed an impressive collection of butterflies, bugs, and spiders in an old field. We’d like to thank Regional Director Sandy Schmid for arranging our trip, and Johnny Stowe for doing an excellent job of leading us through the preserves and educating us about pine flatwoods and their management.
Mary G. Douglass, President
Saturday November 18, 2000 at 10:30 am
Our November trip will be to a unique South Carolina monadnock known as Sugarloaf Mountain. This small 100 ft. high “mountain” is located within the Sandhills State Forest, in Chesterfield County, southwest of Cheraw State Park. The classic longleaf pine / turkey oak sandhills community type is dominant in the state forest. A much different and interesting plant community of both mesic and xeric plants is found on top of Sugarloaf and adjacent Horseshoe mountain. Bradley fern, Well’s pyxie moss (federally endangered), mountain laurel, rhododendron, titi, and trailing arbutus are found here. The rare Pine Barrens tree frog has also been found in the area. We’ll explore the half-mile trails around the mountain and then we’ll move to the nearby lake to explore the nature trail and lakeside area.
Details: Bring a lunch, drinks, and snacks. There are pit toilets located near the parking lot.
Directions: From Columbia, take US 1 north, approximately 9 miles past McBee turn left onto SC 13-29 Hartsville — Ruby Road. Go three miles, turn right (at brown binoculars sign) onto SC 13-63 Scotch Road. Go 0.4 miles, turn right (at second brown binoculars sign) onto Mountain Road and follow road 0.6 miles to lake. Turn left, go approximately one mile and park in lot on left.
Parking: Park in the small parking area on the left located at the foot of the short trail leading to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain.