January in the coastal plain has a subtle and irresistible beauty. I stopped at the Waccamaw River one day to get a couple of shots of the river, but of course the dried roadside plants got my attention, too.
This plant’s pods have long since splayed open to release the seeds.
Fluffy down will float these goldenrod seeds far from home, if the birds don’t eat them first.
The Waccamaw River is a blackwater river, which means the water is rich with tannins from fallen leaves that turn the color deep and dark. You can see the effects in this cattail lined ditch just a few yards from the river.
The river’s source is Lake Waccamaw; it is the only river in North Carolina to start in a Carolina Bay, but all blackwater rivers begin (and end) in the coastal plain.
Along the banks is a typical Carolina floodplain forest with oaks, tupelo, bald cypress, sycamore, sweetgum, red maple and some emergent pines.
The effect of bleached tree trunks and black water is appealing. Birds call, and the water makes occasional plink and sploosh sounds. It’s soothing. Winter can be quite pleasant here.