Earlier last month Lily and I took a day trip along Rt. 65 and hwy 20 through small wet pockets of the Apalachicola National Forest region in search of carnivorous pitcher plants in bloom. Pitcher plants are a type of carnivorous plant, trapping insects in a pool of liquid inside the hollowed-out leaves. The inside of the pitcher is waxy and covered with downward-pointing hairs that make it easy for an insect to fall in but difficult to get out. The pool of liquid contains digestive fluids that break down the insects into basic nutrients that the plants can absorb... nutrients that are generally lacking in the highly acidic bog soil where these plants grow. These weird plants have always fascinated me with the unusual adaptations that their leaves have made to enable them to live in moist, acidic, nitrogen-deficient habitats that they overcome by getting essential amino acids from insects and other organisms. Lily had some favorite spots that we explored where we found more unusual pitcher plants known as Sarracenia leucaphylla and Sarracenia flava. Photos show below are a typical day trudging through the pockets and bogs of North Florida panhandle wetlands.
For wherever you find yr secret wildflower place in the forest, here are a few pro-tips:
1. Go early. Even if you get no sleep the night before. The forest is softer in the morning.
2. Find a place to stop. Stand if you must. Sit if you can. But be still or tread softly.
3. Close your eyes and listen. Open yr eyes and watch.