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Wildflowers Along NC 179

My mind is always in the gutter. I just can’t help it—roadside botanizing is one of my favorite things to do! How can you drive by without stopping when the wildflowers are so pretty and abundant?

Along Highway 179 between Shallotte and Ocean Isle Beach, NC, the lyre leaf sage caught my eye first. I parked in a neighborhood and then walked back to look around.

A sprinkling of small white flowers covered the ground for at least 50 yards between the car and highway. I didn’t recognize them right away, but in the back of my mind assumed something in the Rose family.

Then I started to realize there was a red haze under them. ?? Hmm.

Lyre-leaf Sage (Salvia Lyrata)
Stachys Sp. Along NC Hwy 179
Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum Cinnamomeum)
Oak And Pine Sandy Woods
Drosera Brevifolia
Drosera Brevifolia
Mossy Green
Salvia Lyrata With Red Truck

What a delight to discover they were sundews! Thousands of them lined the sandy edge of the pine forest in the sun next to the road.

It had been worth stopping if I didn’t see another thing, but there was plenty more. It would have been easy to hang out for a hour or two. Click on the gallery photos and see if you find anything interesting—there were so many plants per square yard, I couldn’t begin to name them all.


Merrybells, Uvularia grandiflora 4


Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) surprised me today. It rained last night and then the day was so warm that lots of new blooms showed up all at once. It’s hard to keep up this time of year!

Merrybells are such graceful looking wildflowers. The pale yellow tepals are all fluttery like fairy skirts. There are five species native to the southeastern US, and U. grandiflora makes a nice addition to woodland gardens.

Buck(eye) Wild

I was driving along the road from Ocean Isle Beach to Sunset one day when I thought I noticed something red streak by. Red isn’t that common along coastal roadsides; shades of green, tan, and gray tend to dominate. It’s a subtle palette, and one that makes other colors stand out. I turned the car around.

Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

It’s funny how exciting it can be to see something so familiar in an unfamiliar place. Even if red buckeye is native to NC, I usually see it as a garden plant.

Red Buckeye at the NC coast

It’s a pretty sight out here along the road with the Intracoastal Waterway behind it. Don’t you love the teeny live oak in the distance? It looks as if it’s standing right in the water.

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