|The plant of the day was Bidens mitis,|
which lit up the landscape with beautiful
golden-yellow fall color!
Chip guided the boat that I rode in and explained the Okefenokee is not just a swamp, but a peat bog system of wet prairies, marshes, cypress and hardwood swamps, and upland islands oriented generally northeast to southwest. The ONWR and contiguous conservation buffers make up approximately 420,000 acres! This enormous wetland system contains mildly acidic water resulting from tannic acids produced during vegetative decomposition. Since the formation of the Okefenokee around the beginning of the Holocene epoch (12,000 years before present), it’s acidic water has continued to dissolve away the underlying limestone base, a little more to the southwest, causing it to drain mostly out through the Suwannee River. Only a small portion of the Okefenokee drains into the St. Mary’s River to the east. This is just a small taste of the well articulated information that Chip provided in an animated, engaging fashion. He really knows and loves the Okefenokee!
You can find out more information about the ONWR at http://www.fws.gov/okefenokee/. I suggest downloading the USFWS Comprehensive Management Plan for the ONWR, because it contains the most useful information for an informed visit to the refuge. I printed out an extensive plant list that was quite useful in guiding and narrowing down plant identifications during and after the trip.
|Coreopsis floridana flower head|
|Coreopsis floridana sepals--they're striped.|