The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

Appalachian Excursion in 2007!

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Inside the cocoon, I found this pupating grub about 2 cm long. I've talked to entomologists, and they've told me this was simply a generalist wasp that used the Sarracenia jonesii pitchers as a convenient location for pupation.

I had heard that another Sarracenia jonesii cataract site occurred nearby. Prior to leaving for the trip, I used GoogleEarth to calculate where this was likely to be. My GPS said I was less than a km away from my guess for the site, but looking at the vegetation and landforms around me, I inferred that to get to this waterfall I was in for a hard bushwack. I stashed my gear in an inconspicuous spot, and headed through the woods with no gear except for a compass, my GPS, and a simple med kit.

The travel was very difficult, and I had to negotiate a couple of small cliffs and boulder hop up a notch drainage in the mountain slope, but in a while I found myself at the base of a near-sheer granite bald with a stream pouring over its surface. Sure enough, clinging to the rock surface were Sarracenia jonesii plants! It was absolutely surreal. The cliff was nearly vertical, yet pitcher plants managed to survive in the nooks and cracks in the streaming water flow!

I had no camera gear with me, but even if I had, I'm not sure I would have been able to photograph them. To appreciate the plants, you needed to look at them with a wide view, but any wide angle photograph would have been spoiled by the foreground trees that grew nearly directly against the cliff. Maybe this is something I'll attempt on a future trip. I certainly would not try to use my climbing gear at this site--its technical challenges far exceed my training and skill with ropes.

The day concluded, I picked my way back over the boulders and through the dense forest, to my stashed gear, and then back to the car. That evening I met back up with Jim and his partner, and we had dinner at a fine barbeque joint. (I told Jim that payment for heading into the field with me was information on good barbeque. But with all the great sites that Jim had shown me, I think I had gotten the better part of the deal!)

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Revised: February 2008
©Barry Rice, 2005