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Calloway Forest Wildflowers

posted Apr 27, 2019, 5:01 PM by Justin P   [ updated May 17, 2019, 4:40 PM ]
Saturday, we took Alex for a hike in the Sandhills.  We took US-1 south to Southern Pines and then NC-211 past Aberdeen to Calloway Forest Preserve.  This area of longleaf pine forest is being restored through prescribed burns to support the red-cockaded woodpecker and other rare species dependent on the longleaf.

The land was given to the Nature Conservancy by the NCDOT in 1981 and is now part of Rockfish Creek Game Land.  A wildlife road runs through the preserve and makes for a great hike.

The spring wildflowers were really blooming in the forest.  Bull nettle has small white flowers, but I kept a distance from this stinging plant.

There were lots of blue sky lupine blooming in patches throughout the area.

There was also a lot of vetch growing.

Although many sides roads split off, we stayed on the main trail, eventually reaching a loop.  Going right, we hiked the loop counterclockwise and saw many more wildflowers.  The thin canopy from the pine trees allows a lot of sunlight to reach the forest floor.  Grayhairy wild indigo is a yellow species of indigo that we saw blooming.

Near where we turned around, there was longbranch frostweed flowering.

Looping back around, there was an interesting section where the left side of the trail had recently been burned and the wiregrass was just starting to grow back.

On the right, it had been a while since the last burn and the wiregrass was much more grown out.  The wiregrass was the only thing popping up on the burned side.

Hiking back, there were more wildflowers, including some we has missed on the way out.  Piedmont staggerbush makes small white bell-like flowers.

Grassleaf roseling is related to the spiderwort.

By the time we made it back, it was starting to get pretty hot out.  So we made the drive home as Sandy had to work in the evening.