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SOUT UTH H CAROLINA Wildlife Wildli fe


The summer issue of South Carolina Wildlife will feature a handy monthly planner/calendar complete with delectable fish and game recipes, nostalgic road trips, best fishing days and more! Make sure your subscription is up-to-date to ensure you receive this special edition.


The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ mission is to serve as the principal advocate for and steward of South Carolina’s natural resources. SCDNR website: Henry McMaster, Governor of South Carolina S.C. DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES BOARD Dr. Mark F. Hartley First Congressional District; Mount Pleasant Michael E. Hutchins, Vice Chairman Second Congressional District; Lexington Jake Rasor Jr. Third Congressional District; Clinton Norman F. Pulliam, Chairman Fourth Congressionval District; Spartanburg James Carlisle Oxner III Fifth Congressional District; Union Duane M. Swygert Sixth Congressional District; Hardeeville Jerry A. Lee Seventh Congressional District; Johnsonville S.C. DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES Robert H. Boyles Jr., Director Deputy Directors Angie Cassella Administration Division Col. Chisolm Frampton Law Enforcement Division Emily Cope Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division Ken Rentiers Land, Water and Conservation Division Phil Maier Marine Resources Division MAGAZINE STAFF Joey Frazier, Editor Cindy Thompson, Managing Editor Kathryn Badal Diaz, Art Director Phillip Jones, Photographer Emeritus

Equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the programs and activities of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is available to all individuals regardless of age, race, religion, color, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, status as a parent and protected genetic information. Please direct any questions to the SCDNR Office of Human Resources, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, (803) 734-4400, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Diversity and Civil Rights, 1875 Century Boulevard, NE, Atlanta, GA 30345, (404) 679-7080/7148. South Carolina Wildlife (ISSN 0038-3198) is published bimonthly by the Office of Media and Outreach of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, 1000 Assembly Street, Rembert C. Dennis Building, Columbia, SC 29201. May-June 2021, Vol. 68, No. 3. Copyright © 2021 by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. No part of the contents of this magazine may be reproduced by any means without the consent of South Carolina Wildlife. Manuscripts or photographs may be submitted to The Editor, South Carolina Wildlife, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202-0167, accompanied by self-addressed envelopes and return postage. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. Subscription rate is $18 per year; Canada and foreign rate $24. Canceled subscriptions will not be refunded. Preferred periodicals postage paid at Columbia, SC, and additional mailing offices. Circulation: 1-800-678-7227; Editorial: (803) 734-3967; Website: POSTMASTER: Send address changes and inquiries to South Carolina Wildlife, Circulation Department, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202-0167.

FOR MANY OF US, LATE SPRING AND EARLY SUMMER is one of the most anticipated times of year. Students of all ages eagerly watch the calendar as the last days of the school year creep along, all while pining for a much-needed break from their studies. Farmers scan the skies and prayerfully hope for just the right weather to nurture and nourish this year’s carefully planted crops. Families look ahead to the summer and plan for vacations and visits with loved ones, often arranging to spend some of that precious time outdoors, perhaps with some fishing, boating and swimming to help bear the brunt of summer’s heat. Summer weather patterns set in, and daily thunderstorms often provide contrast between the blistering heat of midday and the refreshing cool of a post-rain evening. It is a time of culmination and preparation, and South Carolinians carry on the age-old tradition of looking to the outdoors for recreation and refreshment. Our relationship to the land is a strong part of what defines us as South Carolinians. Whether we speak of the vast marshes and swamps of the Lowcountry, the expansive pine and hardwood forests of the inner Coastal Plain, the rolling hills of the Piedmont region, or the rocky and rounded mountains in the Upstate, our heritage and our future is tied closely to the land and what grows there. This issue of South Carolina Wildlife offers a slightly different take on how we relate to the land, and we offer a number of features about plants and how they have shaped our landscapes. In this edition, we feature some very unusual insect-eating plants, including pitcher plants and Venus flytraps, that are rare and can be found only in very specific locations in South Carolina, including a number of special properties managed by the SCDNR. For those who are drawn to our state’s beautiful waterways, we take an early summer view of the spectacular blooms of the rocky shoals spider lily, inhabiting (as the name suggests) the rocky shoals of certain scenic Piedmont waterways. We cover the ubiquitous and unusual cypress trees that haunt swamps and bottomlands throughout the state and that provide unique and valuable habitat and cover. We also take a look at a hidden treasure found in the A.C. Moore Herbarium at the University of South Carolina, the largest collection of dried plant specimens in our state, and we include a review of a growing recognition of the importance of pollinators to maintaining our state’s landscape. As we anticipate a fruitful and blessed South Carolina summer, full of spirited times with family and friends, I hope you will make every opportunity to get outside. And let me encourage you to take someone along and go just about anywhere — be it the backyard, a local park or one of the splendid natural areas managed by your dedicated SCDNR staff — as you seek to live your best life outdoors.

— Robert H. Boyles Jr., Director South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

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Miraculum Naturae! Quietly gobbling up insects and other small creatures, the carnivorous plants of our state are treasures to behold.

Wildflowers for Wildlife The bees and butterflies — and biologists — are all abuzz about the Upstate’s new pollinator fields. Resulting fruits and seeds will soon benefit a host of wildlife species.



Botanical Royalty Queens of the rocky shoals, these so-called spider lilies dance to the rhythm of the rivers.

A Tale of Two Trees Both bald and pond cypress trees, heavy with Spanish moss, often are depicted in Lowcountry art and photography.

South Carolina Wildlife magazine is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of our state’s wildlife and natural resources, and to the education of our people to the value of these resources. Published by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. SCDNRWildlife website: 2 South Carolina


36 Three-leaf Distraction One run-in with poison ivy is usually all it takes to remember the signature appearance of this creeping vine. With a little innovation, we can find ways to hop, skip and scoot around it.

40 Securing a Future for Plants South Carolina’s native plant populations, from sturdy oaks to fragrant lilies, depend on visionary planning.

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Field Notes

Get ready for something new – our first-ever South Carolina Wildlife recipe edition! This collection of flavorful Southern dishes will be paired with a monthly calendar, a fun road trip and more!


Conservation Corner Backyard Carolina Sketchbook

Front cover: Yellow pitcher plants by Robert Clark SCW digital publications: Subscriber services: (800) 678-7227

back cover: Spider lilies by Robert Clark MAY / JUNE 2021 3

Miraculum Carnivorous Plants of South Carolina and Their Conservation

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Naturae! Quietly gobbling up insects and other small creatures, the carnivorous plants of our state are treasures to behold. TEXT BY SCDNR BOTANIST KEITH BRADLEY ORIGINAL ART BY JOHN NELSON

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rnivorous plants, sometimes called insectivorous plants, area among the most fascinating members of South Carolina’s rich flora, gobbling up insects and other arthropods like spiders or tiny crustaceans, and sometimes even small lizards. Among the state’s nearly three thousand kinds of native plants, only thirty-one are carnivorous. Some of these are extraordinarily rare and known from very few places in the world. However, a careful observer has the chance to see carnivorous plants in wetland ecosystems all over the state, from the highest mountains all the way to the coast. They are especially easy to see where they are protected in some SCDNR Heritage Preserves. Carnivorous plants, I should clarify, do not get food from their prey. These plants trap their prey to get nutrients, not energy. The digestion of small animals results in the capture of nitrogen, phosphorous and other micronutrients needed for photosynthesis and other physiologic processes. Like almost all plants, they derive their energy from the sun by photosynthesis, transforming light energy into chemical energy by making sugars. For plants to convert sugars into other compounds such as nucleic acids, fat and proteins, additional chemical reactions need to occur. The trick is that nitrogen and other micronutrients are critical for photosynthesis itself and also subsequent chemical reactions. But in many of our wetlands, such as acidic bogs and fens, these micronutrients are absent or are bound to soil particles and aren’t available to plants, leaving them without a needed resource. In the case of carnivorous plants, nature finds a way and has gotten around the problem. Carnivory does have a downside. The modification of leaves into various kinds of insect traps comes at a cost. These trapping structures, like the

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CARNIVOROUS PLANTS come in a range of shapes and sizes, from tall, tubular pitcher plants (left and bottom right, by Robert Clark), to small, low-lying Venus flytraps (above, by Stewart Grinton).

upright funnel-shaped leaves of pitcher plants, are inefficient at capturing sunlight necessary for photosynthesis, so carnivorous plants can only grow in bright sunny habitats, and they don’t tolerate much competition from other plants. In other words, despite sounding like supercharged plants that take on anything because they can eat bugs, carnivorous plants are in a delicate balance, requiring very special conditions to grow. If anything changes in their sensitive habitats, they can disappear. This is especially a problem for species like the sweet mountain pitcher plants, or Venus flytraps, which have very small global ranges. Habitat alterations are pushing them close to extinction. In South Carolina, carnivorous plants always grow in sunny, acidic wetlands, including mountain fens, Carolina Bays, wet pine savannas, seepages in sandhills and ponds. Drainage of their habitats results in their disappearance. Regardless of where they occur geographically, these habitats are also always sunny, and fire is often critical to maintain their habitats. Periodic fires are required to eliminate competition from woody plant species, including trees and shrubs. The SCDNR staff, as well as other land managers, are active in using prescribed fire as a tool to maintain habitat for carnivorous plants and other plant species that benefit wildlife. Without fire, many of our ecosystems would degrade into low-diversity forests, without fascinating species like Venus flytraps. Let’s take a look at some of the different kinds of carnivorous plants and the way they capture their prey. Trapping mechanisms are always derived from modifications of leaves, but the form of the trapping mechanism is quite varied — ranging from passive to active. These mechanisms include flypaper traps, pitfall traps, bladder traps and snap traps. Flypaper traps (butterworts and sundews) are relatively simple,

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as their prey are captured in sticky substances on leaf surfaces. Pitfall traps (pitcher plants) are like big funnels with downward-pointing hairs inside a tube that prevent prey from crawling out. Less noticeable as carnivores are species with bladder traps (bladderworts). These plants have very small bladders, underwater or underground, that suck up tiny invertebrates. And finally, there is the rarest mechanism in the world, the snap trap. Only two species in the world have leaves that are modified to fold up on prey like a bear trap — exemplified by our very own Venus flytrap, and one other Asian species that can only catch tiny aquatic invertebrates, paling in comparison to our special Carolinian species.

Venus Flytraps

“Micraculum naturae,” wrote English naturalist John Ellis, after seeing, for the first time, this astounding plant specimen sent from North America. Although one might think these little snap traps are from some remote tropical island, this special plant is native to nowhere else in the world but South Carolina and North Carolina. Flytraps are beautiful in many ways, from their brilliant white flowers rising high above grasses in April and May, to the strange club shaped leaf base, and the often brilliant red twolobed trap itself, which is the tip of the leaf, fringed with eyelash-like hairs. These leaves grow close to the ground and often in dense colonies. Finding flytraps, often hidden amongst grasses and wildflowers or growing as dense red and green colored carpets, is a special experience. The story of the famous Venus flytrap trails back to when North Carolina’s colonial governor Arthur Dobbs wrote of the plant in a letter to an English botanist, Peter Collinson: “We have a kind of Catch Fly Sensitive which closes upon anything that touches it.” Then, in 1763, famed

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CARNIVOROUS PLANTS, such as the Venus flytrap, (above, by Robert Clark) depend

botanist and explorer John Bartram collected the unique specimens and sent them to European botanists, who gave them the scientific name Dionaea muscipula.

Venus flytrap is kind of a silly name. Flytraps, as it turns out, don’t really specialize in eating flies, which only make up less than five percent of their diet. Instead, they feed mainly on ants,

on insects for nutrients and for pollination.

spiders, beetles and even grasshoppers. Before Arthur Dobbs and others discovered the species, native Americans called it “tippitywichit” after the Cherokee or Catawba word

“titipiwitshik,” roughly meaning “the leaves which wind around.” Some biologists and land managers just like to call them meadow clams. How do the flytraps work? The

famous naturalist Charles Darwin had part of it worked out in 1875, but scientists are still studying on the mechanism. The inside of the “trap,” which is actually a highly specialized leaf, has slender hairs sticking out from its surface that act as triggers. Flytraps can use these hairs to detect not only food, but dust, twigs or other things that they don’t want to waste their time and energy on. As an animal walks across the trap, it must touch not one, but two of these special hairs for the trap to close, and the animal has to be moving quickly enough for it to work. Then, the wriggling of the trapped prey causes more triggers, which signals to the plant that it did indeed trap something, and it keeps the trap closed and begins digestion. As noted earlier, carnivorous plants such as Venus flytraps depend on digesting small insects for nutrients. But they also rely on animals in another way — for pollination! While the traps capture small insects that tend to walk around, flowers are pollinated by winged visitors like small sweat bees and beetles. They usually avoid capture because the flowers are held well above the traps. There is some mystery as to how these important pollinators don’t get captured, but it may be that flytraps attract flying pollinators with invisible (ultraviolet) color patterns, sugars or scented compounds. Unfortunately, this plant has become extremely rare in South Carolina. While it used to be known from Berkeley and Georgetown counties, today we only know of it from a couple of spots in Horry County. (If you’ve seen Venus flytraps somewhere else, we’d love to hear from you!) The populations of many native plant and animal species are on the decline — often resulting from development, land clearing, drainage and lack of frequent fires. Fortunately, some of these species are safe and sound at Lewis

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Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve, where prescribed fires are lit under controlled conditions. Unfortunately, even with proper management, plants are also under threat by poachers. In 2003, for example, poachers were caught stealing 136 plants from the heritage preserve. Activities like this push the species closer to extinction and prevent others from enjoying their beauty in the wild.

Pitcher Plants

We have eight different kinds of pitcher plants (Sarracenia) in South Carolina, from the mountains to the coast, including two that are globally endangered. These plants have modified leaves that look like a funnel. Some species are tall and stick straight up from the ground, while some lay flat to the ground, often nestled in sphagnum moss. At the top of the funnel are glands that produce fragrant nectar, luring insects across a slippery surface, causing them to fall. The inside of the funnel-like leaves have downward pointing hairs, so once prey falls in, it can’t get back out, providing a meal of nutrients to the plant.


Tiny little sundews (Drosera) are some of my favorite plants to see. They’re often a brilliant sparkling deep red, covered with glistening hairs. Dense colonies of these Lilliputian plants with bright white to pink flowers in bare white sand are adorable. Sundews are in the genus Drosera, and five species have been found in the state. They catch their prey with movable “glandular tentacles,” hairs covering the leaves that are tipped with a sticky mucilage where small animals get stuck. Then enzymes are secreted to dissolve the prey, and the nutrients are absorbed.


We have three different species of butterworts (Pinguicula) and these are only found in moist pine savannas

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in the Coastal Plain. Like sundews, these have a passive flypaper trapping mechanism where prey are captured by sticky hairs on leaf surfaces. The most noticeable thing about these species is not their leaves, but their attractive flowers. Seeing the large flowers of blue butterwort or yellow butterwort is always a treat, as is finding the much rarer, tiny-flowered species small butterwort with blue to white flowers.

Bladderworts VENUS FLYTRAP FLOWERS, positioned above the trap, enable pollinators to stop by for a safe and friendly visit. Photo by Joey Frazier.

PITCHER PLANTS range in color from yellow to green to red. (Opposite and above, by Robert Clark). Venus flytraps are typically green with a pink or red “mouth.” (Below, by Stewart Grinton).

Our most diverse genus of carnivorous plants is the least noticeable as a carnivore, but their showy yellow or purple flowers make them outstanding wildflowers. We have fourteen species of bladderworts, and they can be found all over the state. Some grow rooted in most soil while other form large colonies as aquatics in ponds and Carolina bays, often forming large masses of flowers. Unlike other carnivores, these species trap prey with tiny little vacuum-driven bladders. Some scientists consider these to be the most sophisticated trapping mechanism of any carnivorous plant! The bladders pump water out, creating a vacuum inside, and the bladder walls act like a spring. Little hairs on the outside of the bladder act like levers if an animal touches them, then the suction on the bladder entrance is opened, and the animal gets sucked inside!

This is SCDNR Botanist Keith Bradley’s first feature for South Carolina Wildlife. SCDNR would love your help with botanists’ efforts to conserve rare carnivorous plants. We’d especially welcome reports of Venus flytraps. While we have very good data of their locations at Lewis Ocean and Cartwheel Bay Heritage Preserves, we are looking for them in other places. If you have seen them elsewhere, please contact SCDNR Botanist Keith Bradley at

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The bees and butterflies — and biologists — are all abuzz about the Upstate’s new pollinator fields. Resulting fruits and seeds will soon PHOTOS BY CINDY THOMPSON benefit a host of wildlife species.


few months ago, I received an email from my SCDNR colleague and long-time friend Mark Hall, who works in the remote hills of the Upstate. I thought he may be reaching out to me about the black bear, wild turkeys or even ruffed grouse in his neck of the woods. Much to my surprise, he was writing to announce that his wildflower initiative, planted in some of the highest elevations of the Palmetto State, had taken off with great success. Mark sent me a single photo of a butterfly without much detail, except “a bug” typed into the subject line. In the next message, “Send a photographer to see us if you can.” I was more than happy to take this assignment, as I hadn’t seen Mark for a while, and I never turn down the opportunity to travel all the way up to Sassafrass Mountain and other mountaintop lookouts. It was a beautiful day! Glorious blue skies! I had a good feeling about this trip.

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Mark’s truck has seen plenty of longstretching, bumpy miles up and down the steep roads of the Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges. With windows rolled down to breathe in that fresh mountain air, and camera bag in tow, we followed the gravel-dirt road, back and forth up the steep mountainside. We were headed toward Jumping-off Rock — spotting brightorange, wild growing mushrooms as we rolled along. When we reached the planted fields, we hopped out of the truck and met up with Ken Forrester, an SCDNR Jocassee lead wildlife technician who was operating the bulldozer that day. With a little innovative thinking between the three of us, the bulky bulldozer served double duty as an elevator of sorts, and we were able to capture a few photographs from a higher-up perspective. I will let Mark take it from here, as the work he is doing is profoundly important to the future of our great state. However, I will add that during this photo shoot, an assortment of pollinators were buzzing in a harmony of sorts all across the fields. A proud moment indeed! And as we descended down the mountain at the end of the day, a black bear darted across the road, evidence that pollinating insects are supporting native plants and wildlife. — Cindy Thompson, SCW managing editor.


Several places within the Jocassee Gorges received a colorful facelift in 2020, thanks to special funding through Duke Energy’s Habitat Enhancement Program (HEP). As part of the Keowee-Toxaway relicensing agreement related to Lakes Jocassee and Keowee, Duke Energy collected fees associated with docks and distributes the monies each year for projects within the respective watersheds to promote wildlife habitat improvements. I approached the HEP committee in 2019 with a proposal to establish wildflower patches throughout Jocassee Gorges to benefit pollinator species. Pollinators, including bats, hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and other invertebrates, visit 14 South Carolina Wildlife

wildflowers and subsequently distribute pollen among a wide range of fruit and seed-bearing plants. The fruits and seeds produced are eventually consumed by a host of game and non-game animals. Pollinator species play a key role in the complex ecological chain that is the foundation for diverse vegetation within Jocassee. In early 2020, undesirable vegetation was eliminated on several unproductive, open fields within Jocassee. A special mix of native wildflowers was planted in early May, and luckily, mother nature provided the summer rains to nurture the wildflower crop. Several miles of roadsides were also hydro-seeded with the wildflower mixture to further promote the benefits associated with pollinator species throughout the property. The special seed mixture carries a hefty price tag of more than $45 per pound, as compared to a standard seed mix that runs a few dollars per unit. The HEP provided the funding required for the more expensive planting. Jocassee Gorges supports an incredible landscape, however, nearly 99 percent of the area is totally forested and thus, heavily shaded. Roadsides and small, scattered fields represent the few places where sunlight penetrates to allow herbaceous, flowering plants to flourish. Intensive management of the small percentage of open areas is a very important endeavor. Several additional miles of roadsides will be treated in the spring of 2021. During late summer of 2020 the new wildflower patches were inspected. The sites were literally buzzing with life! Bees of all descriptions, hummingbirds and hundreds of butterflies bounced among the new, colorful foliage gathering nectar and doing their job — spreading pollen. Such spectacles of nature are adding a new dimension to an already amazing Wildlife Management Area. Visitors, new and old, are bound to appreciate those new diamonds in the rough of the Jocassee Gorges. Mark Hall has served the SCDNR as a certified wildlife biologist and registered forester for almost three decades. As Jocassee Gorges project manager, his work has helped shaped a conservation legacy for the state of South Carolina. MAY / JUNE 2021 15


Wildlife Biologist Mark Hall worked with L. B. Wannamaker Seed and Wildlife Center to plan the pollinator field project in Jocassee Gorges. Here are a few tips that may inspire plans for pollinator gardens or wildlife food plots in your area. Here at Wannamaker Seed and Wildlife Center, we love our love our woodland and wildlife areas, and we enjoy advising the hunters and landowners who value theirs. Many landowners do not realize what a treasure they have in native plant seeds that are dormant on undisturbed lands and waiting to be released by thinning/harvesting their pine trees and prescribed burning every two-three years. What an amazing benefit for pollinators and for encouraging larger populations and more diverse species of wild birds. As a result of following these practices on five hundred acres, NRCS Wildlife Biologist Sudie Thomas found many species of native lespedezas as well as asters and mints with multiple flower heads. In December 2020, members of the Audubon Society and other bird enthusiasts identified an amazing sixty-two different species of wild birds in one day. We recommend planting pollinating mixtures specifically adapted to the Southeast and blooming in succession over an extended period of time. Some mixtures contain ten, fifteen, or up to thirty different types of seed well adapted for small garden plots or larger areas. Wannamaker Wildlife provides multiple opportunities to engage youth in wildlife plantings and activities by partnering with Clemson University in distributing seed to 4-H members, by hosting a youth dove shoot and contributing small packets of wildflower seed to churches and garden clubs. For deer and wild turkeys, we focus on plantings that provide a year-round food supply so that they don’t lose critical body mass in the winter months. Some of our customers have had extraordinary success in year-round planting including Magic Carpet, Naked Oats and Sweet Blue Lupine. A club in Swansea reported a net gain of forty pounds per deer after using our seed mixtures. L.B. Wannamaker Seed and Wildlife Center is a family business that is the culmination of generations of research and development. Their role in benefitting agricultural practices in South Carolina began with J.E. Wannamaker, who was one of the founding members of Clemson Agricultural College. “Today at L.B. Wannamaker Seed and Wildlife Center, we are constantly experimenting with new crops and better varieties, and all are tested on our farms. We keep a watchful eye on our crops from the first seeds in the soil to the last seed in the bag.” — Luther B. Wannamaker. To learn more about seeds that benefit wildlife, visit their company website at or call 800-378-2107. 16 South Carolina Wildlife

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More than one billion years ago, the first species of fungi began to appear on earth. Persisting through subtle and drastic changes in the environment, these marvels of nature have evolved to perform a vital function in the cycle of life. Fungi break down organic matter and release carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus into the soil and air. Many species of fungi have evolved over time to fill this role today. The total number of fungi species found on earth is up for debate, but falls between one and five million or more. The kingdom of fungi is made up of large groups we call “macrofungi,” such as mushrooms, and tiny species 18 South Carolina Wildlife

we call “microfungi,” like yeast. Mycology, the study of fungi, began to develop and split away from botany during the late 1700s. Mycologists determined fungi are not plants — plants make energy through photosynthesis, while mushrooms thrive on decaying material or even parasitize other organisms. And while fungi do have intriguing similarities to animal life, mycologists agree fungi do not belong in the animal kingdom either. So, fungi are placed in a separate realm altogether: The Kingdom of Fungi. Examples of macrofungi are featured in this segment. Macrofungi species include different forms or groups: gilled, bolete, bracket, coral, tooth, jelly,

puffball, earthstar, stinkhorn, bird’s nest and sac fungi. Mycologists study each part of a mushroom to identify and categorize the species. Various forms of macrofungi fruiting bodies can be found growing in forests on decaying trees, logs or limbs, as well as open grassy areas where nutrients exist to support fruiting bodies. Outdoor enthusiasts quickly realize it is not easy to correctly identify many species of macrofungi with confidence. Positive identification may require close examination of spore prints and spores. Interest in mycology continues to grow as macrofungi research expands. Keep a field guide handy when you are outdoors to learn more about the fascinating world of fungi!


GILLED MACROFUNGI have fruiting bodies that grow vertically from the ground. Their stalks are attached to underside of caps, and gills radiate from stalks to outer edge of caps. Spores are produced within gills.

BOLETE MACROFUNGI resemble gilled mushrooms but have smooth surfaces with tiny spore tubes below the caps instead of gills. Some species have false gills. Bolete mushrooms have thick stalks and caps.

BRACKET MACROFUNGI are fan-shaped or shelf-like and attach at angles to woody surfaces. Some species of bracket mushrooms have spore pores on underside of caps, some do not have pores, others have false gills. MAY / JUNE 2021 19


CORAL MACROFUNGI may look like coral or lettuce (cauliflower species above). Spores are produced on outer surface.

TOOTH MACROFUNGI have tooth-like spines on outer surfaces, where spores are produced.

JELLY MACROFUNGI fruiting bodies have a gelatinous texture. Spores exit through surface pores.

BIRD'S NEST MACROFUNGI have tiny fruiting bodies that resemble a nest with eggs. Spores within egg-like body structures are attached inside the cups. When spores mature, eggs dislodge, split and disperse spores.

EARTHSTAR MACROFUNGI have arm-like structures. Arms may fold around its stomach-like structure to protect developing spores. Spores exit at top of sphere or when cracked open.

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PUFFBALL MACROFUNGI are spherical with a stomach-like fruiting body structure. Short supporting stalks are underground or not visible. Spores, produced within the oval body walls, exit at top or when split open.

STINKHORN MACROFUNGI fruiting bodies are elongated or column-shaped. Mature spores mix with a layer of gelatinous material that can be foul-smelling.

SAC MACROFUNGI have fruiting bodies and reproductive systems that are different from other macrofungi groups and are in a separate classification. This group includes species of morels and truffles. MAY / JUNE 2021 21

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Queens of the rocky shoals, these so-called spider lilies dance to the rhythm of the rivers. TEXT BY TOM POLAND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT CLARK

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pproach with reverence and listen. Faint at first, you’ll hear Earth’s finest white noise. Water whispers and murmurs as it purls, froths and foams against bedrock. Milky-white filigrees twist and braid, a sound that begets inner peace as no other sound can. Peering through a curtain of trees you see rare botanical royalty. Lustrous greenscapes topped by snow-white blooms move to swift water, a bobbing, weaving, mesmerizing dance. Accompanied by the sound of unfettered water, you behold South Carolina’s most bedazzling display of nature. The spectacle unfolds each spring in Georgia and Alabama, too. Come MayJune, white and green accents adorn rivers and creeks studded by brown rocks. Seeing rocky shoals spider lilies the first time takes your breath away. “I’ve seen little old ladies weep at their first sighting of this plant,” said Dr. Larry Davenport, the plant’s foremost expert. “The lily has become a symbol of the wild and free-flowing places of Central Alabama.” Davenport’s words from Garden & Gun’s May 2019 issue apply to South Carolina and Georgia as well. With so many shoals beneath lakes, this majestic plant has little habitat left. If you take your grandmother to see the ballerina-like blooms, take tissues. And understand that you are viewing a species devastated by dams, dropping water quality and development. Babylon had hanging gardens, and South Carolina has billowing river gardens. You’ll find the world’s largest colony at Landsford Canal State Park in Chester County. One Sunday morning I drove up there. Kayakers darted in and out of majestic clumps, and onlookers oohed and ahhed from an observation deck. See the dancing blooms and enjoy a concert of river song. Greenscapes support delicate flowers that bring ballerinas to mind. Dancing flowers upon a stage of rushing water — a performance you’ll not forget. A magnificent, yet difficult to access, colony thrives on Stevens Creek in McCormick County. Funding from the South Carolina Conservation Bank and the South Carolina Native Plant 24 South Carolina Wildlife

Society helped Naturaland Trust provide a thirteen-acre refuge for this stunning colony. Support came from the Upper Savannah Land Trust as well. A survivor from pre-European landscapes, shoals lilies prefer rocky rivers, plummeting elevation, and clean, freeflowing water. Translation: no dams. When you take in the shoals lilies at Stevens Creek and Landsford Canal you glimpse what the Piedmont looked like before big dams rose like massive granite outcroppings.

A bit elusive, other populations of shoal lilies exist in South Carolina. I’m told a colony exists along the Savannah River Bluffs Heritage Preserve near North Augusta. I hear too that Lockhart in Union County has shoals lilies on the Broad River, and I’ve seen places where people have tried to establish colonies. In Ware Shoals several clumps bring beauty to the Saluda River near Irvin Pitts Memorial Park. You can see another occurrence of these lilies in Columbia where the Broad River

worries in the presence of Hymenocallis coronaria, this aquatic, perennial flowering plant species endemic to the Southeastern United States. This past spring I visited Stevens Creek three times. The first time, heavy rains had the creek high and heavy with silt. Most lilies hid, submerged. A few days later, a good many lilies tossed their beautiful crowns about. My third visit found the creek at normal flow but peak bloom had passed. Even so, beauty aplenty lingered. I waded out and leaned over a pristine bloom to take in its fragrance. A lemonysugary perfume rose, subtle but heady. To see shoals lilies is to see butterflies and hummingbirds, too. Exquisite and ephemeral, the blooms open at night and last but a day. Long, pure white tepals and staminal cup, green bracts, mint green accents, gold stamens, and bright-to-dark green stigma bring that arachnid moniker into play. I prefer crown, even better, diadem. After all, we’re talking botanical royalty here. MAN’S TAMPERING WAYS

approaches the Saluda River east of the I-126 Bridge. A LEMONY-SUGARY FRAGRANCE In 1783 William Bartram, the first botanist to observe this species, described it as the “odoriferous Pancratium fluitans which almost alone possesses the little rocky islets.” (Now known as Hymenocallis coronaria) His sighting was at the cataracts of the Savannah River

near Augusta. Consistent through time, the plant is drawn to crevices to root between rocks in swift water. Alas, man’s dams did away with many rocky shoals. And now other troubles have arrived. And now other troubles, such as invasive plants, have arrived. Each spring I make expeditions to the rocky shoals spider lilies in South Carolina and Georgia for a simple reason: they offer photographers, artists, writers and nature lovers a dream. You lose track of time and

Find shoals lilies and you’ll see man’s attempts to harness water’s power. Uphill from the shoals lilies at Stevens Creek stands an old mill a channel once fed. At Landsford Canal, a beautiful stone canal rendered the river commercially navigable from 1820 to 1835. In Georgia, a splendid colony survives four minutes as the osprey flies from the South Carolina border, and, yes, ospreys haunt the shoals. Long ago, men dynamited a channel through its midst so Petersburg boats could get through. That the shoals still exist is miraculous. This breathtaking colony beat not one but two dams — Russell and J. Strom Thurmond (Clarks Hill). Maybe you haven’t heard of it, but naturalists, botanists, kayakers and artists have. Writers, too. Anthony Shoals, wild and accessible by land with great difficulty, draws me each spring. Artist Philip Juras painted Anthony Shoals in oil on canvas, and his essay in Bartram’s Living Legacy: Travels and the Nature of the South beautifully describes the setting and its significance. His words apply to Stevens Creek and Landsford Canal. MAY / JUNE 2021 25

“There is no river scene in the Piedmont of northeast Georgia more stunning than Anthony Shoals on the Broad River. Perhaps there used to be. Perhaps the 26 South Carolina Wildlife

many great shoals on the Savannah River were just as glorious before they fell silent beneath the waters of the Thurmond, Russell and Hartwell reservoirs, but I’m

not quite old enough to have known any of them. Only the rapids above Augusta, my hometown, still show the beauty of the Savannah before it leaves the Piedmont.

But the wildness of the river there is diminished by the new mansions looking down from the bluffs and the dams parceling out the flow from upstream. I think that’s why I love Anthony Shoals so much. This final stretch of the Broad, as it runs through the Broad River Wildlife Management Area (Georgia), is the only place in the upper Savannah River watershed where the sound of a wild river still rises from such a wide swath of bedrock.” Juras described the setting at the time of his splendid painting. “On the evening

I captured this view, mountain laurel, snowbells, mock orange, Piedmont rhododendron and fringe tree were in various states of bloom on the steep slopes next to the river. The main show, however, was being staged on the river itself, where one of the few populations of shoals spiderlilies left in the Savannah watershed was catching the light of the western horizon with glorious full blooms.” A LILY — TO BE OR NOT TO BE So, is the rocky shoals spider lily a true lily?

No. These cousins of daffodils grow on similar-sounding rivers, the Catawba and Alabama’s Cahaba. Folks in Alabama call it the Cahaba lily; elsewhere it’s the shoal lily. In Georgia, it’s usually called the shoals spider lily. Most botanists and conservationists call it the “rocky shoals spider lily,” a name arising from its preferred habitat: rivers where fastflowing, oxygen-rich water runs over rocks, i.e. shoals. This stunning perennial grows three feet high in direct sunlight. Flowing water carries its seeds and bulbs away and when they land in a rocky crevice, a colony forms — if conditions are right. Man’s dams did away with many of the right conditions. Bartram saw, as you can, elegant white flowers arcing over dense green scapes, their thick clusters festooning rocks. Each plant sends up one to three scapes with as many as six to nine flowers adorning each scape. (The plant’s beauty lures collectors, another reason it’s in danger.) Doing my best to follow in Bartram’s steps I explore places where a world exists before dams and electricity changed things. When I find rocky shoals spider lilies, I’ve found such a place. You can too. Late spring, head to Landsford Canal, head to Stevens Creek. Head to daunting Anthony Shoals, if you dare. The flowers won’t last long, so don’t tarry. You’ll come away with memories of a place artist Philip Juras described as a “watershed where the sound of a wild river still rises from such a wide swath of bedrock.” And you’ll never forget the showy, exquisite rocky shoals spider lilies, botanical royalty. Mark your calendar for an adventure. The flowers are rare, and they only bloom a short while. It is, indeed, a transient spectacle. Tom Poland, a Georgia-lina native and freelance writer, is a former South Carolina Wildlife managing editor and creator of tales both beautiful and rustic. Photographer Robert Clark is a South Carolina Wildlife alum, and his photography is featured in numerous books about the Palmetto State. MAY / JUNE 2021 27

A Tale of Two Trees 28 South Carolina Wildlife

Both bald and pond cypress trees, heavy with Spanish moss, often are depicted in Lowcountry art and photography. TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT CLARK


raveling through the state of South Carolina today, I can only imagine how our scenic Lowcountry once looked, ages ago. While longleaf pines towered hundreds of feet overhead in the Uplands, floodplain forests and swamps were thick with massive bald cypress trees, and in Carolina bays, stands of pond cypress trees sometimes dominated the landscape. As a photographer, I consider bald cypress to be the champion of the swamp, but one of my most recognized

photographs taken in the 1980s for the SCDNR is of a Carolina bay lined with pond cypress. However, there was a time when wetlands were the disdain of landowners trying to make a living in an agrarian economy. For first generation South Carolina settlers, agricultural was, for the most part, the main source of financial survival. So, the wetlands were drained and flood plains were cleared to create fields from the cypress swamps and bays to grow rice,

indigo and later, cotton. Our current perspective of cypress bottomland forests is based on lands forested many times over. To get a glimpse of how floodplains existed hundreds of years ago, you may consider a visit to Congaree National Park in lower Richland County or the Francis Beidler Forest in Dorchester County to see old growth bald cypress trees. To see majestic pond cypress, take road trip to Cathedral Bay Heritage Preserve in Bamberg County. MAY / JUNE 2021 29

CAROLINA BAYS offer ideal wetland conditions for pond cypress to thrive, as in this image of Dalzell Bay — one of Robert Clark’s most recognized photographs. 30 South Carolina Wildlife

MAY / JUNE 2021 31

THE STATELY BALD CYPRESS is typically found in seasonally flooded areas, swamps and stream banks, and may attain a height of one hundred feet or more. Pond cypress may be found on higher land, or along the edges of rivers, ponds and swamps, and may grow up to seventy feet tall. Bald cypress knees are pointed, while pond cypress have round knees or no knees at all. 32 South Carolina Wildlife

Both the bald and pond cypresses are deciduous conifers in the family Cupressaceae and genus Taxodium. Native to the southeastern United States, the tree’s range stretches from Delaware to Texas. These are large slow-growing trees with sturdy wood exhibiting a high

tolerance to water damage and decay. The bald cypress, Taxodium distichum, got its moniker as each autumn it drops its russet-red needles. The tree tolerates flooding waters, droughts and saline soil conditions. Once sprouted, the tree must outgrow the rising level of flooding

waters to survive. It can be found along South Carolina’s riverine systems, particularly in the Coastal Plain. It can quickly be distinguished from other fluted trees by the knees protruding from the ground around it. As mentioned above, the Congaree National Park, on MAY / JUNE 2021 33

the outskirts of Columbia, is an excellent location to view massive bald cypress trees up close, as you traverse boardwalks and trails within the park. Although the pond cypress is a close relative of the bald cypress, today it is known as a separate species, Taxodium ascenders. The pond cypress grows in similar conditions as the bald cypress, although mature pond cypress do not usually grow as tall as the bald cypress, and knees of the pond cypress are more rounded than knees of the bald cypress. In 1983, wildlife biologist Steve Bennett came into my office at the, then, South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, and excitedly told me about a Carolina bay he recently visited on private land — Dalzell Bay. “You have to go with me and see this bay,” Steve said. At that time, I did not know very much about Carolina bays, and little did I know, this visit would change my life as a photographer. We drove through the town of Dalzell, and Steve parked his vehicle along a dirt road near the bay. Walking through a private property then lined with junked cars and rusty washing machines, my expectations were dimming. Soon, we stepped out into a clay-based Carolina bay, and the scene before us was incredible. Hundreds of pond cypress trees stretched as far as I could see. Draped in Spanish moss, the trees stood out against vibrantgreen grasses in the bay’s interior. That experience led to numerous adventures in the coming years. Pond cypress bays are my favorites, due to the perspective the trees give the bay. I even re-named Dalzell Bay. Now I still call it Dazzle Bay. Throughout my life exploring nature, I’m always drawn to the bald and pond cypress trees. They surprise and dazzle me as they transform an otherwise drab landscape into an oasis of beauty. Photographer Robert Clark, also a South Carolina Wildlife alum, uses his talent with a camera to record the very best of the Palmetto State. 34 South Carolina Wildlife

MAY / JUNE 2021 35

36 South Carolina Wildlife

Three-leaf Distraction One run-in with poison ivy is usually all it takes to remember the signature appearance of this creeping vine. With a little innovation, we can find ways to hop, skip and scoot around it. BY C. HOPE CLARK ARTWORK BY MARK CONRARDY


y husband took a three-year tour in Arizona as a federal agent before we returned to South Carolina to retire. We made many trips back and forth, sometimes taking the northern route through Oklahoma, and at other times the southern roads taking us so close to Mexico we could see the border. One such time, coming to settle sons at Clemson for yet another semester, in a random glance at available property, I ran across three acres on Lake Murray where I could see us putting down our roots. A confusion of beetle-infested pines, hickory, oaks, and wisteria vines as thick as your thigh encircled a twobedroom fishing cabin with a hole in the roof, yet I viewed the potential. Being the do-it-yourselfers we were, we returned every couple of months to plan.

We salvaged old azaleas from around the cabin the first return trip. The second we tackled English ivy and wisteria choking to death one side of the woods. Little did I realize that poison ivy had crept so covertly as to be conjoined with every piece of flora we attempted to tame. Thus began my relationship with poison ivy. I returned to Arizona sun-burned and muscle-tired, but by Tuesday the blisters made their appearance. A couple days later, I found myself enveloped in the rash and in dire need of medical attention. Covered from head to ankle, fighting a fever, every inch of skin not covered by tee shirt and shorts worn in my landscaping frenzy, was blessed with the infection. The doctor, who had never seen poison ivy, called every doc, nurse and technician in the practice to drop what they were doing. MAY / JUNE 2021 37

“Have you ever seen such a mess?” “This is incredible!” “Never seen anything like this before. Thanks for giving us this opportunity!” Six people peering over me, the specimen. I couldn’t tell if I was that unusual a case or they were that naïve. All I knew was that I never wanted to experience the likes of poison ivy again. They laughed when they heard me say that. I wasn’t laughing when I said it. Six weeks of oatmeal baths, steroids and bottles of assorted creams, assured me that my once mild-mannered itches from exposure could now become anaphylaxis. Overnight, I developed a sixth sense and learned to love gloves, long-sleeves, Tecnu lotion, and antiurushiol soap, with a laundry sink added to the house plans in my new garage, solely for accidental contact and emergency scrubbings. Finally, we moved back to our beloved Carolina and our house took form. But I found myself unable to walk the property without one eye trained for those three leaves, tender red stems or, worse, the woody, hairy vine running up the backside of an oak tree. Before long we had a porch overlooking the water with enough trees left to keep its forest feel. I developed a frequent ritual of inspecting the property, though, walking stick in hand, pointing out my tripleleafed nemesis to my husband . . . a man who could pick it bare-handed and eat it on a salad. He couldn’t spot it. I couldn’t not spot it. Not long after, I enjoyed the pleasure of a visit from my grandson for a day. One who went by the name of Duke. Four years old and athletic, the name suited him. We often greeted him with a loud Duuuuke, dragging it out long and strong, giving the name the oomph expected for such a moniker. He’d return your attention with a twinkle and a smile, and a wide open laugh. 38 South Carolina Wildlife

This particular day, he clamored over playground equipment at a local park. Ever eager to teach my grandsons about nature, wildlife and things not so technological, industrial and commercial, I coaxed him to walk through the woods with me on a maintained path. To him, however, that tree line was the deepest, darkest jungle he’d ever seen before. “What’s in there, Grandma?” “Nothing, baby. Let’s see what we can see.” Not a hundred yards in, dang if I didn’t spot a patch of ivy, hiding itself amongst some wild lavender phlox that had taken up residence between two gnarled roots. All Duke saw was the flowers. All I saw was ivy. “Be careful,” I said, holding him back. “See that?” And I pointed to the nasty stuff. “We watch out for red stems and three leaves shaped like that. We do not touch it.” “Why?” “It can make you sick and itch a lot.” The yearning to pick that purple flower just radiated off him. What a perfect gift to pick and use to buy a grandma’s love. “Come on, baby,” I said, leading him off. “Let’s see what else we can see.” We walked on, hunting for a scolding squirrel up high and naming the bird calls. A dead log, the trunk two-feet thick and forty feet prostrate, lay in the damp, leaf-coated forest floor, and to a four-year-old, begged to be climbed. He headed that way. “We don’t want to walk on old dead trees like that,” I said. “Why?” “You might fall through if they are rotted, and snakes love places like that.” The disappointment on his face had me grasping for something better to draw his attention. Hand-in-hand we walked. We talked. We spotted animal homes and wondered how long trees lived.

“Bears live in woods,” he said, segueing as kids do at the drop of a word, then glanced around as if to spot a grizzly. “There are no bears in these woods,” I replied, happy to dispel his fears. He pointed to the right. “Snakes could live in that dead log over there.” I commended him for spotting the log. “Is that the three-leaf plant?” he asked, stooped and peering at something that wasn’t ivy. I veered off the path, to pick up sticks long enough to swordfight with. “Don’t,” he yelled. “There’s danger in there.” A mile down the path, he stopped. “I want to go back, Grandma. I want to get out of the woods.” “Only a little bit further,” I said. “Don’t you want to see the creek?” “I want to go back to the playground where I can play.” But weren’t we playing? Of course we weren’t. The reality of my teachings struck me. We hadn’t even talked about the lavender flower . . . because the ivy was in the way. We hadn’t left the path, in case of snakes. And now he imagined bears. In the effort of spotting the negative, we’d missed the beauty. No, I had. Like I was missing the blooms in my flower bed . . . for hunting the ivy. “Let’s run to the crooked creek,” I exclaimed, trotting on ahead. “Come on!” He followed, part because I told him to. Part just to see. “Let’s check out why they call it crooked,” I said. “Even if we have to jump in and get wet.” He giggled and hurried to catch up — the twinkle back in his eyes. C. Hope Clark is a mystery author living on Lake Murray outside of Chapin. Her books can be found on Amazon and

MAY / JUNE 2021 39

Securing a Future for

PLANTS South Carolina’s native plant populations, from sturdy oaks to fragrant lilies, depend on visionary planning. Curators and botanists are teaming up to secure their future. TEXT BY CINDY THOMPSON

40 South Carolina Wildlife



magine exploring untamed maritime forests, open grasslands or mountainous terrains for the very first time — without a cell phone or any sort of guide. Which berries and nuts are fit for eating? Could these seeds produce food to feed a family? Maybe those plants have therapeutic properties? What kinds of species depend on this tree, or this type of forest, to survive? During the early 1700s, many European explorers sailed across the Atlantic to see for themselves the richly diverse ecosystems of a vast new land and a new colony named Carolina. One of the most notable English explorers of the era was Mark Catesby. Funded by the Fellows of the Royal Society of London, Catesby went to great lengths to research the native flora and fauna of Carolina’s unique terrains — documenting in painstaking detail hundreds of fantastic species he found camouflaged, nestled, scurrying or stampeding around every turn. He took MAY / JUNE 2021 41

time to clearly sketch and describe the roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits of native plants in brilliant detail, and he paired these plants with the insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds and mammals he observed nearby. Hundreds of Catesby’s timeless illustrations are now archived in museums and libraries around the world to encapsulate a wide range of species that were inhabiting Carolina, now South Carolina, during the 1700s. Some of these species continue to inhabit the Carolina region, while others are now extinct or rare. With the dawn of the industrial revolution, around the late 1700s, the natural landscapes of the world began to transform as settlements, towns and cities expanded. By the late 1800s, the functions of the plant kingdom broadened in relation to new discoveries — accommodating demands for food, shelter, clothing, medicine, recreation and more. The study of plants, or botany, has since grown to become one of the world’s most vital fields of research. A CAROLINA HERBARIUM IS BORN In 1887, a budding biologist, Andrew Charles Moore, graduated with honors from South Carolina College (known today as the University of South Carolina). His keen interest in biology, geology and mineralogy ultimately led to his role as chairman of the department of biology at South Carolina College, and, twice, served as president of the college. Moore’s focus on botanical studies intensified during his tenure, and he accrued an expansive collection of dried plant specimens. In 1907 he founded an herbarium on the bustling campus. This visionary establishment, today known as the University of South Carolina (UofSC) A.C. Moore Herbarium, houses more than one hundred thousand specimens of vascular and nonvascular plant material from the Southeastern United States and around the world — and the herbarium is home to the largest collection of archived plants in South Carolina. Located in the heart of UofSC campus in Columbia, this 42 South Carolina Wildlife

STACHYS CAROLINIANA courtesy of A.C. Moore Herbarium.

world-renowned resource for botanical knowledge also serves as a hub for research and our state’s conservation initiatives. In fact, collaborative efforts between the A.C. Moore Herbarium and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources have been ongoing for decades. Through the years, the legacy of the Herbarium has been preserved by its curators, and this unique position has broadened in scope as plant conservation becomes increasingly vital. “Connections between the herbarium

and the SCDNR go way back,” said retired A.C. Moore Herbarium curator John Nelson. He recalled years of field studies with state botanist Douglas Rayner in the 1980s. He remembered, in particular, examining a dried and mounted specimen that Rayner had collected in 1977. At the time, both Rayner and Nelson were working at the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department (now SCDNR). Years later, Nelson would see this plant again. “We went on a field trip to Yawkey

MORE THAN 100,000 PLANT SPECIMENS are housed at the A.C. Moore Herbarium, with some archived specimens that date back to the late 1800s. Archived examples, shown above, sand rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides), Dixie mountain breadroot (Pediomelum piedmontanum) and running oak (Quercus pumila).

Wildlife Center,” Nelson said. “We collected a plant, and I didn’t know what it was. We determined it was a hedge nettle (in the genus Stachys). It didn’t look like any of the other species that are found here. In 1990, the Yawkey Foundation gave funding to study the plant life there.” After years of thorough research, Nelson and Raynor declared they had, in fact, discovered a new species of hedge nettle, known nowhere else in the world but South Carolina, and they named the plant Stachys caroliniana. A specimen

of this new species is now housed at the A.C. Moore Herbarium. John Nelson began his work at the Herbarium in the 1990s, safeguarding a collection of around 40,000 specimens in those years. Following in the footsteps of curators before him, Nelson and his staff have preserved plant specimens using a tried and true method that has consistently worked over time — using newspapers, plywood to flatten, a freezer and a drying oven — to prepare specimens for archiving.

“Once the plant parts are dry, they stay in a press for a week,” he said. “They remain bone dry and flat. A label is attached, and we keep them preserved in filing cases.” The tedious drying process has proven to be an effective way to preserve and archive specimens for future generations to study. Nelson added that bugs such as weevils and cigarette beetles can also be a threat. “So, we put specimens in a freezer. Nothing can survive in there.” Under Nelson’s leadership, the collections housed at the A.C. Moore MAY / JUNE 2021 43

Our efforts to conserve rare plants and biodiversity in South Carolina depend on collections, like those archived at the Herbarium.


Herbarium grew from 40,000 to more than 100,000 specimens. Well-known as an expert in botanical studies, he has been a frequent guest on Making it Grow television show and featured in numerous periodicals. Nelson recently retired from his position as head curator of the A.C. Moore Herbarium and is honored as curator emeritus. PROTECTORS OF PLANTS In August 2019, Herrick Brown assumed the distinguished role as curator of the A.C. Moore Herbarium. Prior to his current appointment, he served as assistant botanist for the SCDNR Heritage Trust program and acted as an official liaison between the herbarium and the SCDNR. To prepare for this article, Brown led the staff of South Carolina Wildlife on a tour of the Herbarium. SCDNR Botanist Keith Bradley accompanied us on the tour, as he regularly works with Brown on a multitude of research projects. While touring the historic plant archives, we could clearly see how their collaborative work is an industrious continuation of pathways forged by the botanists, biologists and 44 South Carolina Wildlife

naturalists who preceded them. Brown began the tour with an overview. “Our estimated holdings consist of around 130,000 specimens, 120,000 with label metadata. In keeping with the digital age, we have 75,000 images of those specimens, 10,000 in the queue from Keith’s work in the field and others who are actively collecting specimens and contributing.” “Once we receive specimens in loose newspaper sheets, they are dried, pressed and labeled,” Brown said. “The dried specimens are attached to a elevenby-seventeen-inch paper, and each of these sheets has a number that uniquely identifies that specimen.” Placement of the plants on the sheets is especially important, he pointed out. “We make sure parts for [plant] identification are shown, some leaves facing up and some facing down. Sometimes there are tricks. We can remove a leaf or snip it in half. There is a lot of art to it.” THE PROCESS OF PRESERVING In the lab where he is regularly instructing biology students, Brown led us to the area where plants are prepared for the archive files. “When we receive previously dried specimens

from another institution, we put them in a minus-eighty-degree freezer overnight. Freshly collected specimens are carefully arranged between lattice boards or plywood to apply pressure and then placed in the drying oven. We use packing material and blotter paper to wick away moisture.” He pointed to the corrugated channels of the paper that allow air to run between the plant specimens. The oven is our next stop on the tour. According to Brown, the oven maintains about one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. “Different herbaria may do things differently,” he said. “For example, Nebraska has low humidity, so they just use box fans at room temperature. Here in South Carolina, we use this oven. It’s the best way to dry. Like a good barbecue, we use long and low heat to maintain the DNA. Depending on how much material is available on the specimen, we allow for some material to be sampled for DNA.” Bradley often brings specimens to add to the Herbarium collection. “If I’m collecting specimens in August, when it’s humid, plants may not preserve,” he said. “I dry plants out on the road on thick blotters and I use a portable dehydrator.

We prep the plant specimens for the Herbarium.” As a botanist and curator, Brown regularly collects and preserves specimens. He agreed with Bradley: timing is everything. “When you see the specimen, as a botanist, you are focusing on having as much of the material as possible,” he said. “We may only take the aerial portion and leave the root. If it is a common species, we may take the root, or portions of the root. The tips of the limbs, fruits and flowers, the reproductive parts, are critical in identifying the species. The trick to collecting, is collecting at the right time.” OFF TO THE ARCHIVES Brown walked over to the sealed cabinets that house the archived sheets of specimens. “These cabinets are fire resistant and hermetically sealed to help keep bugs out. We try to keep the temperatures cool.” He unlocked one of the cabinet doors and carefully slides out a black walnut specimen to observe. “The fruit of a black walnut looks like a big green orange. The green part has tannins it. There is a hard nut on the inside. So they used a band saw [to slice the nut into thin layers]. You can see the structure of the fruit and parts of the two seed leaves, which feed the seedling when it germinates.” The label on the sheet is of great use to curators, as it opens the doors to worldwide research. Bar codes on the labels contain digital information. By scanning a bar code, curators can view the common and Latin name, where the specimen has been studied, who collected it, and other unique information. The label also lists the official acronym index of where the specimen is housed, such as UofSC Herbarium, USCH. Brown underscored the importance of the label found in the corner of one of the archived specimens. “This is a snapshot of what was there and when, ‘Calhoun County in 2011, fruiting in August.’ We have the exact location and coordinates to help us plan site revisits. MAY / JUNE 2021 45

The label and barcode tell us who collected it, when it was collected, what the plant was doing and what else was growing around where it was found. And we have a web-accessible folder of this image.” “Several specimens of one plant may exist in our archives,” he added. “We can put them into a cabinet for exchange, to swap collections within the Southeast or across the United states, other universities and other locations as well.” Our tour led us to the exchange cabinet. “You can see what specimens look like unprocessed,” Brown said. “They are pressed and labeled for which herbarium we are going to send them to. When teaching a class, I bring specimens out of the herbarium. Graduate students may collect samples as well.” He noted that some specimens have been exchanged with archives in Vietnam, Vienna, Berlin, Scandinavian countries, Iran, Africa and South America. “It comes at an expense to both collections to do an exchange, but this broadens the libraries.” GROWING COLLECTIONS Bradley is along for the tour at the Herbarium, coincidentally, to research findings of a species that he is investigating. “I use these data on a daily basis to evaluate how rare a species is in the state,” he said. “I look at the digital images online. Sometimes I can see trends. These collections are going back for two centuries. I will look online to see how frequently this plant was collected.” Brown nodded in agreement. “If you look at South Carolina as being one of the first colonies, you can look at how many new specimens were added per county, you can see through time that the addition of new species follows a logarithmic growth pattern. We have sampled the range of locations and reached a plateau of understanding where this is located. Keith’s work looks at when that plateau is falling off. Sometimes I receive requests from Keith, partnering with other herbaria. We loan [specimens] to allow others to 46 South Carolina Wildlife

CURATOR AND BOTANIST HERRICK BROWN examines an archived black walnut specimen that is housed in the sealed cabinets of the A.C. Moore Herbarium.

analyze and identify and correct.” So, how does this affect the direction of conservation efforts in South Carolina? “The SCDNR, since the 1970s, has been compiling data from plant locations,” Bradley explained. “Part of that is based on making notes in the field. A lot of this is based on

specimens, as long as it doesn’t imperil a plant population in the wild. Today, I am researching a legume. The specimen images are online. These records are valuable. We have four thousand species in the state of South Carolina. Getting them all right is hard . . . taking into consideration species, variety, location.”

“Programs all over the world have adopted a standard methodology,” said Bradley. “Everything gets a rank in the state, from S1, imperiled, to S5, stable. We track how many populations there are in the state. There is also a global rank, G1 to G5. We don’t want them to go extinct. We don’t want the species to become a GX, extinct. If we see a need to protect plants, it depends on the land. If the land can’t be put into a land trust, it is possible to reach an agreement by contacting the owner. We may encourage landowners or companies to not use herbicides.”

SPECIES TO PROTECT Needless to say, the plant kingdom is quite essential to the animal kingdom, and there is a necessary balance in nature that has to be maintained for a healthy quality of life. The SCDNR works daily to help reach this balance for future generations.

“My job includes studying the role of pollinators across the Carolina landscape,” Bradley said. Part of this research entails protecting ecosystems where plants and pollinators are struggling. With the proper management of these habitats, perhaps pollinators can rebound and fulfill their roles as well.

PITCHING IN FOR NATIVE PLANTS The downside in cultivating certain plants that have quick results is that they can cause problems for native plants, Bradley warns. “Crossing species can cause an aggressive weed, a species that is behaving differently than the species behaved centuries ago.” As curator of the Herbarium, Brown is watchful of new, invasive species that are replacing native plants. “We encourage sourcing plants from nurseries that can provide locally sourced material that is similar to the gene pool that we have in our area. Plants best-suited for our climate and low maintenance. We don’t want to displace natives that are here.” Following in the footsteps of the explorers and scientists before them, Herbarium Curator Herrick Brown and SCDNR Botanist Keith Bradley are making great headway in preserving South Carolina’s native flora for future generations. “We look back to specimens found in South Carolina one hundred years ago,” Brown concluded. “These specimens were found when there were no roads, miles from anywhere. We consider Catesby’s books and letters from hundreds of years ago. We are always looking back to make conservation decisions for the future.” Cindy Thompson is managing editor of South Carolina Wildlife. Many thanks to the botanists and A.C. Moore Herbarium for their contributions to this article. MAY / JUNE 2021 47


Watersheds in South Carolina Carolina

Strategically placed dams and canals reduce erosion and improve soil conditions across the state. BY CHRIS WORKMAN

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he water’s surface reflects the world around it. Its serenity, broken only by the occasional light breeze, is fractured into a riot of color. A doe and her fawns warily step out, alert for any sign of predators. They begin to drink. Frogs, disturbed by the family’s intrusion, plop lazily into cooling waters. Overhead, a hawk is suspended on unseen breezes, searching for its next meal. Just below the water’s surface, minnows are darting about. This is one snapshot of a scene that plays out every day around South Carolina watersheds. With just over one hundred watershed structures around the state, South Carolina’s watersheds are protected from flooding with dams and canals constructed through partnerships decades ago. These structures stand as silent sentinels to reduce erosion and sedimentation and prevent flooding of farms, homes, roads and other sensitive areas that were previously plagued by flooding and standing water. In 1962, the South Carolina Watershed Law was implemented to address flooding issues. In conjunction with PL-566 (Public Law 566), the Soil and Water Conservation Districts were able to petition to create what would become the Watershed Districts we know today. Watershed boards are composed of five elected directors. These directors, spurred on by the desire to conserve our land, resources and wildlife, serve four-year terms. Early on in the creation of South Carolina’s Watershed Districts, directors were tasked with the initial formation of the structures themselves. This was accomplished through the cooperation of many partners. Local landowners, concerned citizens, county Soil and Water Conservation Boards, the Soil Conservation Service (now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service or NRCS) and many other partners came together to address a multitude of issues on a local level. Areas that had been prone to flooding for generations would now become productive farmland. Roads that would get washed out after heavy rains and hurricanes were made passable. MAY / JUNE 2021 49


Concerns that had existed since South Carolina was settled were addressed through the construction of the dams and canals. Today, these problems are distant memories. What was once a one-lane-road, used only by local residents and farmers, has become a busy roadway conveying goods and travelers across the state. What was once a farm below the watershed structure has become residences for families. Today, our watersheds are more important than ever. Not only do they protect millions of dollars of infrastructure, they also offer respite to local wildlife and serve as a haven of peace, tranquility and life-giving water and food sources for countless species. It is important that we continue to protect our watersheds. Flooding that was once commonplace is now minimized by these structures. These aging structures, some more than fifty years old, are maintained through the hard work and dedication of locally-led Watershed Directors and Soil and Water Commissioners working in conjunction with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and other state and local partners. Yet, many across the state are unaware of the work going on just upstream. Issues, which were once commonplace, have been mitigated and a lot of time has passed since these were viable concerns for local residents. The success of these structures has been a boon for local economies and overall quality of life. Sedimentation that once impacted downstream water resources has been reduced substantially and resulted in cleaner waters for all to enjoy. South Carolina is home to a wide array of wildlife and is unique in its wide-ranging habitat types. From mountain streams to coastal waterways, South Carolina’s watersheds offer an environment that has something everyone can enjoy. Chris Workman is the Watershed Districts Program Manager for SCDNR where he provides oversight, technical and outreach assistance for Watershed Districts in South Carolina. For assistance in your area, visit 50 South Carolina Wildlife

MAY / JUNE 2021 51


The days are getting longer, and the weather is warming up. For many South Carolinians, this seasonal shift means it is time to take their boats out of storage and head out on the water. With about 450,000 registered boats across the state, South Carolina has one of the highest densities of boating activity nationwide. Growth in boating popularity also increases the potential impact of boat-related activities on the environment. So, South Carolina’s boating population bears a vast responsibility to act as stewards of our waterways while enjoying them. Before you launch your boat for the first time this year, review this guide and think about how you can be a cleaner boater. The Clean Boater Program mobilizes South Carolina’s boating community and aquatic resource users to minimize their environmental impacts. By practicing clean boating habits, we can ensure that our beautiful aquatic resources are kept pristine for others and future generations to enjoy. Remember: every boat makes a difference. Do your part to protect our waterways by putting these tips into practice and 52 South Carolina Wildlife

spreading the word to other boaters in the community.

Avoid using harsh cleaners

Many popular cleaning products contain toxic chemicals such as chlorine, phosphates and ammonia. Using them to clean your vessel often means introducing them directly into the waterway where they can poison marine wildlife, impair water quality and cause lasting ramifications for the ecosystem at large. Fortunately, frequent rinsing of your boat with freshwater and wiping it down with a non-abrasive sponge can be very effective in minimizing the need for stronger cleaners. If your boat is in need of a deeper clean, avoid doing it dockside or near the waterway. The best solution is to take it to a drive-through car wash or another inland facility that has infrastructure for properly channeling wastewater.

Use your “head”

Being smart about sewage is a no-brainer for anyone who appreciates clean water.

You should never discharge raw sewage into South Carolina waters. In addition to being illegal, raw or poorly treated sewage can transmit diseases and cause rashes in humans, infect shellfish (which may then make oyster lovers sick) and cause algal blooms that kill fish. The best option to reduce waste in our waters is to use a restroom onshore. However, if your boat has a marine sanitation device, ensure that it is in working order by following the manufacturers maintenance guidelines. Always have a plan as to where and when you’re going to pump your holding tank by locating your nearest pumpout facility. Remember, it is against both federal and state law to dump sewage (treated or untreated) in any water body in South Carolina.

Don’t be a fool when you fuel

A common way you may unintentionally pollute the environment is by spilling fuel when filling up your fuel tanks. Even small spills of oil can contaminate a large volume of water. Try using an absorbent fuel bib or collar around the fuel nozzle to catch

Clean Boating: Protecting South Carolina’s Water Resources TEXT BY OUTREACH BIOLOGIST PERRY FENNE LL PHOTO BY JOEY FRAZIER

drips and fill your tank slowly to prevent any overflow. Remember, always remain attentive to the pump while fueling your boat. If you see a spill, notify your marina staff or contact the National Response Center, immediately: 1-800-424-8892.

Stash your trash

On the water, trash can quickly become marine debris. Marine debris is any manufactured item that ends up in our waterways. More than just an eyesore, the presence of trash in the ocean and freshwater systems is one of the greatest environmental issues worldwide. It poses a threat to a myriad of wildlife, such as fish, marine mammals and birds, that utilize the waterway as their habitat (ingesting small pieces of plastic mistaken for food source causes intestinal blockage, starvation/can become entangled, drown in large pieces of fishing gear). It also negatively impacts local economies that rely on pristine waters for tourism, fishing and other recreational uses. For boaters, marine

debris can easily become entangled around a prop or clog your vessels intake system, requiring costly repairs and creating a safety risk while on the water. Always place trash items in a secure location onboard to keep it from blowing overboard. To go the extra mile, follow the rule of plus one boating, by not only bringing back every piece of trash you take with you but an additional item you encounter while on the water as well. Fishing line that is improperly disposed of or abandoned into the environment poses a significant threat to boaters and local wildlife. One solution to this problem is to collect all used fishing line and place lines in one of the designated monofilament recycling bins located at boat launches, marinas and popular fishing locations around the state. If you do not know where the location of your nearest bin is, or would like to have one installed near you, please submit an inquiry to: sc-mrrp@dnr.

Stop aquatic hitchhikers! Clean, drain, dry…

Aquatic invasive species are defined as

non-native plants and animals that live most or all of their lives in water, and have the potential to adversely impact ecological functionality, public health and economic activity. Unfortunately, aquatic invasives are no stranger to South Carolina waters. Many of these species attach themselves to boat props, hulls, motors and can also be carried in bilge water or live wells — making it easy for boaters to inadvertently transport them from one body of water to another. To avoid this, drain your bilge and live well as soon as you pull your boat out of the water. Wipe down and scrub all wetted surfaces, including the hull, prop, and lower portions of the motor, as well as the trailer and any other gear that entered the water during your outing — removing any visible mud and plants. Give your vessel ample time to dry out (at least a week) before launching it into a different body of water. Never dump unused bait into the water as this can introduce invasive species as well. Remember — clean, drain, dry. MAY / JUNE 2021 53


2021 Baltimore Oriole Winter Survey Results BY LEX GLOVER


he Baltimore Oriole Winter Survey was a huge success this year, and South Carolina continues to report the largest number of these birds wintering in the country. This year we received 178 reports and tallied 853 orioles. This is almost double our highest number of reports from previous years, and our largest number of orioles tallied during a survey to date. Previous high count was 463 orioles tallied in 2016. The timing of the survey, which took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in an expanded interest in 54 South Carolina Wildlife

bird feeding activities and increased participation. The survey was conducted in conjunction with the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), held annually around the middle of February. Participants reported the largest number of orioles seen at one time, in one view, during one or more days of the four-day survey, and could report their numbers through the GBBC website site or through a SCDNR survey form. The GBBC is an inter-organizational effort between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon

Society and Birds Canada. Baltimore Orioles were reported in 17 SC counties during the survey. Most reports came from the Coastal Plain, but the Midlands had an increase in reports this year and there were several Upstate reports, with Oconee County reporting for the first time since we started the survey. Charleston County had the largest number of reports, 85, and tallied the largest number for one county with 381 orioles. Wintering Baltimore Orioles have a history in South Carolina, but their numbers

IMMATURE BALTIMORE ORIOLE, left, by Ronnie Hucks, and mature male, above, by Marcie Daniels.

have grown in recent decades, likely in response to increased bird feeding activities. Their natural foods are insects, fruits and nectar. People offer grape jelly, (their favorite food

item by far), orange halves, mealworms and suet cakes/ products to provide additional food resources during their winter visit. SCDNR would like to thank

everyone who participate in this citizen science program. The information collected will help us monitor the status and distribution of this beautiful songbird. MAY / JUNE 2021 55


Yellow Trumpet Pitcher Plant Sarracenia flava The Yellow Trumpet Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia flava) is typically two to three feet tall. The tubular leaves of this plant produce digestive fluid which forms a small pool for drowning the insects inside. The hood typically excludes rainwater. Treefrogs may be found seeking refuge at the upper reaches of the tubes, relying on their sticky toe pads to escape the plant’s appetite.

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READY FOR SUMMER? TEAM DNR OUTDOOR FUN CHECKLIST South Carolina Hunting License South Carolina Fishing License South Carolina Boater ’s Registration South Carolina Wildlife Subscription Visit the SCDNR’s new boat titling and licensing office in Horry County, located at 640 9th Avenue, Aynor, SC 29511. Or visit Call 1-800-678-7227 or visit our website, to subscribe to South Carolina Wildlife magazine.