The South Carolina Native Plant Society
is excited to announce Wild Plants on the Rabbit,
a new, pocket-sized brochure
about the native and naturalized plants
growing along the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
The Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail runs nearly 20 miles, from above the town of Travelers Rest into the heart of Greenville, until terminating in Lake Conestee Nature Park. For much of its length following the Reedy River or the route of an old railroad, the Trail is widely praised — both for its role in encouraging healthful exercise and for the economic boon it’s been to the community.
Other, less obvious, benefits are its value as a wildlife corridor and as an outdoor classroom. The Trail adjoins woodlands and wetlands, gardens and gullies, and it is a convenient place for people to get up close and personal with plants that are not in a garden, home landscape, or park, and that are more than just a blur seen out the car window.
Sharp eyes may spot Trillium, Bloodroot, Cardinal Flower, Swamp Milkweed, Downy Lobelia, a handful of Sunflowers species, or even the small white flowers of the rare, federally protected Bunched Arrowhead. Over 100 different plant species are featured in the brochure, with a photograph and a short description, and a map of the Trail is included for reference. Trail users are encouraged to use the brochure as a checklist, checking off plants as they spot them.
A common misconception is that if a plant is growing “wild” it must be native to this area, but many of the plants encountered on the Trail were brought here from other continents, either intentionally or by accident. Many exotic plants have established themselves along the Trail, disrupting naturally occurring native plant communities.
The brochure provides links to a more complete plant inventory. SCNPS members have currently documented almost 400 species growing wild on the Trail, and the list is far from complete. If Trail users see a plant on the Trail that they cannot find in the brochure or in this list, the Society’s website offers a service where they can submit their own photos for identification.