National & State Parks

Bayou Sauvage NWR and Fort Pike SHS, Louisiana: Spring Flowers in Bloom

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Recently I made a spring jaunt over to southeast Louisiana to visit the Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike State Historic Site ($4 and no pets allowed in fort). My husband and I only saw a couple of alligators, from far away (see photo above).

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Below are images of a few flowering plants and a few critters I saw throughout the day. The first image is a member of the Rubus genus, commonly known as dewberry (Rubus trivialis). The fruit were advancing quite well.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

At the Bayou Sauvage we made three different entrance stops. Each area had its own unique attribute, whether a good spot for setting in a kayak, outstanding birding, or a a lengthy boardwalk that traversed a unique ecosystem of the Gulf Coast. I had not been to Bayou Sauvage since Hurricane Katrina, in fact I hadn’t been since spring of 1998, long before I ever thought I’d live on the MS Gulf Coast. We were so happy that leashed dogs were allowed. Our pups had a great time and will be back.

Realizing that most folks will find thistle nasty or hideous, please take a second look. Its gorgeous. In fact it nearly looks like something out of a horror movie or space novel.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Just a few steps away, this thistle plant had a different look, but still very pretty. So much detail and texture. Wildflower.org reports that these thistles are important to both native and bumble bees. You might now believe how many thistles there are just in the Cirsium genus alone! I thought perhaps at first the image below might be C. horridulum, but I am not positive. Actually, I really wanted to include that species name. HORRIDulum. LOL Exactly what I can image some tiny lady saying a long, long time ago: (Hmm HORRID plant). Next to this group of thistle were flowering Salix (willow) and you can see the pretty yellow flowers in the slideshow below.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

 

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

After our first Bayou Sauvage stop, we then drove to Fort Pike. The day was mostly cloudy and cool and it seemed we fought rain off and on all day. The sign below sits outside the tiny visitor center where admission is paid.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

This view of white-flowered crow poison (Northoscordum bivalve) is from the top of Fort Pike overlooking the water.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

A low growing groundcover,  Anagallis arvensis (scarlet pimpernel) was flowering atop the fort in the grass. Don’t be fooled by the mixture of species when you view the leaves. Yeah, fooled me too! The orange petals with inner purple marking is very distinctive. I had never seen this plant before. I am really glad I got to know this flower because the name Scarlet Pimpernel has been very familiar to me as a novel, play, and movie, although I confess that I don’t think I have ever read or viewed it.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Technically this next image of a fern isn’t “flowering”, but I am sometimes just amused at the cracks and crevices that plants will grow in when they put their minds to it.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

The Fort was really cool and I was glad to get to see it. The Gulf Coast sports many wonderful, historic forts so be sure to look them up if you are in the area.

Next we headed back for our second and final stops at the Bayou Sauvage, both of which had boardwalks that afford opportunities to see and photograph alligators, waterfowl and other aquatic birds and animals.

At several places we noticed the pretty blue flowers of Tradescantia, the native spiderwort. We weren’t the only ones to take note though (see image in slideshow of butterfly on Tradescantia)

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

Visit to Bayou Sauvage and Fort Pike, Louisiana.

View these images and more in the slideshow below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thank you Louisiana Fish and Wildlife Service (and for allowing Bayou Sauvage to be leashed-dog friendly) and the State of Louisiana Historic Sites.

Keep on Growin’
The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

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Categories: National & State Parks, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bogue Chitto State Park, LA: plants in bloom March 2014

TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_BogueChittoStatePark_RStafne-023_WEB

TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_BogueChittoStatePark_RStafne-023_WEB

Bogue Chitto State Park is located in Franklinton, Louisiana (about 35 minutes north of Abita Springs, LA). I recently traveled there for a hike with my husband and two dogs. What a wonderful surprise! I am only sorry we did not know about this state park sooner. As pictured above, there was tremendous spring color to be found, including Gelsemium sempervirens, Prunus serotina, and native maple (Acer species).

Below are many images I captured during our hike, which wasn’t the ideal time for photography, but photography wasn’t the reason for our visit. I would love to elaborate more on each plant, but working with the images, researching the plants, and putting it all together has maxed out my daily limit. Where in doubt of the species, I have only indicated the Genus.

 

TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Malus species in flower. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The image above is likely a crabapple. Note the pale pink blossoms, indicative of the Malus genus. Below is what looks like a wild apple. Its a rather old, shaded tree, but the flowers were all white and very beautiful in the afternoon sun.

Malus species. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Malus species. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Parsley hawthorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Parsley hawthorn. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The images here (above and below) are small trees/large shrubs in the Crataegus genus. My first thought was definitely parsley hawthorn, an outstanding native. In the first image, the flowers seem to be more white, whereas in the lower image, the tree seemed to have very dominate pink anthers (pollen part). It could have been lighting I suppose, but it gave off a different feel. (don’t forget, you can double click each image to see the larger size as these are “medium”)

TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Below is a Trillium! One of spring’s sweet surprises. Keep your eyes peeled on the ground for this low growing and somewhat shy native.

Trillium. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Trillium. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The Illicium at this state park were incredible. Hurry and get up there now to see the glorious blooms. I had never seen so many Illicium floridanum in one area, and certainly not blooming!  While quite showy, their smell was somewhat along the lines of a dirty fish aquarium.  But you did have to get close to smell it. I had a variegated variety of this native growing in my yard, but it did not survive the year after planting.  I would like to try again.

Illicium floridanum. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Illicium floridanum. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

In a recent post about what’s blooming in my yard, I included a note about Vaccinium elliottii, Elliott’s blueberry. There were several plants still blooming along the trails at Bogue Chitto.

Vaccinium elliottii. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Vaccinium elliottii. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

I could not have been more surprised to find a flowering dogwood along the trails. Some of the trails lead you up hills with overlooks of the ravines below. This higher level of well-drained soil provided the perfect niche for a dogwood. This tree was relatively old and the flowers were about twenty feet high into the canopy. They were not white, but a creamy light yellow.

Cornus florida. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Cornus florida. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

I spotted a couple of little violets, some that were white tinged with purple and this lovely lavender colored specimen below.

Viola. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Viola. TheGardenMaiden_copyright-2014

Often seen popping up in lawns, species of the genus Hedyotis could be found along the trails in sunnier locations.

Hedyotis. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Hedyotis. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Last week I photographed Nothoscordum in my own yard and have since found huge swaths of it blooming in unmowed roadsides. The image below was a specimen along the trails we hiked.

Nothoscordum bivalve. False garlic. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Nothoscordum bivalve. False garlic. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Certainly I was impressed with all the native blooming plants at Bogue Chitto, including several Halesia, I believe H. diptera. Similar to the flowers of Elliott’s blueberry, Halesia diptera have cute little bell-like flowers that hang daintily from their slender stems.

Halesia diptera. Silverbell.  TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Halesia diptera. Silverbell. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Its always fun to identify a plant that you never remember seeing or learning before. Such was the case with the small tree below: Symplocos tinctoria (common sweet leaf)! Getting up close and personal with the flowers was a special treat.

Symplocos tinctoria. TheGardenMaiden_copyright

Symplocos tinctoria. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

The genus Senecio is large and at the moment I don’t have time to key out the two yellow-orange spring wildflowers. They are members of the family Asteraceae and as best as I can tell, are both in the genus Senecio. They were blooming side by side along the shadier areas of the trail, particularly the lower, wetter areas.

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

Asteraceae family. Either Senecio a.k.a. Packera genus. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

 

You can find a great resource from Louisiana State University Ag Center in their Native Tree Guide.

The bathrooms were clean, stocked, and plentiful. Our dogs had a great time hiking the trails with us and we can’t wait to go back. There were hills to climb, streams, lakes and a river to to explore. Many folks were camping, running trails, hiking, biking, fishing  and walking with families and friends.  It was a very safe and well-maintained park. Kudos to LA State Parks!

 

Exit sign at Bogue Chitto State Park. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014_BogueChittoStatePark_RStafne-360_WEB

Exit sign at Bogue Chitto State Park. TheGardenMaiden_copyright_2014

We recommend ending a day of hiking with some tasty, fresh, local microbrews and grub at the Abita Brew Pub in Abita Springs. Their patio is also leashed-dog friendly!

Keep on Growin’
The Garden Maiden

All images and text copyright 2014 The Garden Maiden

Categories: National & State Parks, What's Blooming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
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