The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

A Shadow over North Carolina

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A long time local:
The local I was meeting was Frank Galloway. (I'm publishing his name with his permission.) As I drove to his house, I started to get hints that his family had been living in The Green Swamp area for a long, long, time. Partly it was that the road that led past his house had the same name as his family. Partly it was the cemetery on his extensive property that, I noticed, was populated with many tombstones indicating the subterrene inhabitants were also named Galloway. (Later on, back home, I found several other "Galloway" features marked on my North Carolina gazetteer.)

Fortunately, Frank was home and ready to show me around North Carolina. It was really interesting chatting with Frank, because his family had lived in that part of North Carolina since the 1750s or so. In contrast, my family came to the USA just a few generations ago. During my life, I've lived in Illinois, New York, Arizona, and California. So I wonder how Frank's and my perspective about the land are different. I think Frank probably has a very intimate sense of place about North Carolina that I don't have about any place.

Frank was the perfect kind of guide for this trip. He knew the area extremely well. He was smart and knew the natural history of plants and animals. And he also knew the cultural history of the land. If I were alone, I would have walked through a field and merely seen a fire-adapted pinewoods community--Frank could point out bear scratchings, trees that had been used for turpentine production, and areas that were exposed to different regimes of burning.

We first went to The Green Swamp. As Frank explained, The Green Swamp consists of a huge and essentially impassable, thorny, viny mass of trees and shrubs known as "bay vegetation". I looked at some of the bay vegetation--he's right--it is very dense and would be horrible to try to penetrate. Embedded in the expanses of bay vegetation are open pine forests, and it is in these relatively dry, sunny areas (called "islands") that you encounter carnivorous plants. In this photograph you can see a nice clump of Sarracenia rubra subsp. rubra growing on one of the islands.

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Revised: October 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005