A guide to the plants on the Swamp Rabbit Trail

SRT_frontcover_150The 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.

Wild Plants on the Rabbit brochures are free and available at Upstate Chapter events (including the April 16th Native Plant Sale at Conestee Park!) and at other outlets listed here.


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who help make projects like this possible!


Upstate Plant Rescue and Planting

Twin Chimneys 2016-01-30

Bill Sharpton led a group of 13 energetic volunteers in rescuing Christmas ferns (Polystichum acrostichoides) from a soon-to-be covered site at Twin Chimneys Landfill in southern Greenville County on Saturday, January 30, 2016.

After lunch at a nearby restaurant, the group headed to a section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail near the Greenville Zoo to plant the rescued ferns. The weather cooperated (high in the low 60’s), and lots of families were visiting the zoo to take advantage of a beautiful winter day in Upstate South Carolina.

This particular section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail is in Cleveland Park and has been a special project for the Upstate Chapter since 2013, when SCNPS member Bette Thern noticed some interesting wildflowers there. Little Sweet Betsy (Trillium cuneatum), Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and Bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata) were growing in prime position right beside the trail, but nearly smothered by a heavy blanket of English Ivy and other invasives. Several Silverbell trees (Halesia tetraptera) decorated the lower canopy.

The site was shown to Scott Drayton of City of Greenville Parks and Recreation. Scott committed Greenville P&R to remove the invasives and underbrush if SCNPS members would mark the wildflowers and Silverbell saplings. SCNPS continues to monitor the site and man occasional workdays.

To visit, park in the lower Zoo parking lot, walk past the Vietnam Memorial and cross the river at the double bridges. The site is located at the end and slightly to the right of the crossing just across the asphalt walking path.


Community Project Grant Funding

To support the use of native plants in local landscape, the Lowcountry Chapter is accepting applications for its Community Project Grant Program. Community projects must be directed at protecting, preserving, restoring, and/or educating the public about native plants or plant communities in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Individual award amounts will not exceed $500.

Spring proposals will be accepted until February 1, 2016 and awarded by March 1st.

Application information can be found here: Community Project Criteria

National Invasive Species Awareness Week — and how you can help

A new invasive plant species that appears to be poised to be a terrible invasive in moist, nutrient-rich situations across eastern North America has been documented in two counties in South Carolina: fig buttercup, also called lesser celandine (Ficaria verna, formerly Ranunculus ficaria).

Because of concern that this plant may be establishing footholds along waterways in other counties, the SC Native Plant Society is enlisting the efforts of people across the state to scout areas near them during March and April. A training video can be seen at

A workshop is also planned, to be held March 21 at Lake Conestee Nature Park in Greenville:

What is an invasive species? An invasive species is an introduced plant or animal with the ability to thrive and spread aggressively outside its native range, and which is believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy and/or human health.

In an effort to to raise awareness and identify solutions to invasive species issues, the week of February 22–28 has been designated as National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

Kudzu (Pueraria montana), “the plant that ate the South”, is an example that readily comes to mind. Introduced to the United States as an ornamental and heavily promoted for erosion control, it now covers about 8 million acres of land in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, and costs an estimated $500 million a year in the U.S. in control efforts and the damage it causes to forest productivity.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is an invasive insect introduced to the East Coast in the 1950s, Already it has killed huge numbers of hemlocks in the Southern Appalachians, and foresters as far north as Maine are now battling the destructive pest. The hemlock is a foundational species in the riparian and cove habitats of southern mountains, and the ecological ramifications of its loss impact such things as stream flow, water temperature, and the survival of eastern brook trout.

Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) is an invasive aquatic plant that was first found in Lake Marion in 1982 and now covers over 55,000 acres in the state. Indeed, Hydrilla has become a major obstacle to fishing, swimming, boating, hydroelectric generation, and irrigation in slow-moving waters from Connecticut to Texas.

A list of ways to observe National Invasive Species Awareness Week can be downloaded from the official website (www.nisaw.org). Their suggestions include “clean, drain and dry your boat trailer and gear every time you leave a body of water”, “learn to recognize common invaders and keep an eye out for signs of new ones”, “join an eradication effort”, “let your lawmakers know your opinions about the impact of invasive species on our natural heritage”, “replace your invasive landscape plants with native alternatives”, and “become a citizen scientist”.

Lowcountry: Spring 2015 Newsletter + Plant Sale + Symposium

Plant sale flyer Spring 2015

South Carolina Native Plant SocietySpring 2015
LOWCOUNTRY CHAPTER NEWSLETTER, VOL. 18, Issue 1, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464


Happy New Year! After a great set of fall lectures and field trips, it’s time to look ahead toward an exciting (and busy) spring for the Lowcountry Chapter. A diverse set of monthly speakers and field trips are scheduled with topics ranging from longleaf pine forests to botanical gardens. We also have two special events on the calendar… The popular Spring Native Plant Sale is scheduled for March 14th at Charles Towne Landing – a perfect time to bring some natives home to your backyard. And June 12-14, the Lowcountry Chapter is hosting the annual SC Native Plant Society Symposium in North Charleston.


These are all great opportunities to get further engaged in the chapter and learn more about native plants. We would also like you to consider joining the Lowcountry Board. As a volunteer-run organization, the board is critical to the chapter’s success. We have a great team and are always looking for new members to step into these leadership roles. Elections will be held this spring, so please contact any current members if you want to learn more.


Finally, don’t forget to check out our website at www.scnps.org, sign up for our listserv at [email protected], or “like” our Facebook page to stay up-to-date on opportunities. I look forward to seeing you soon!


Mary Conley

Acting Lowcountry President

Spring 2015 Native Plant Sale!

 Saturday, March 14, 9 am -12 noon

SCNPS Members can start shopping at 8:30!

Charles Towne Landing parking lot

1500 Old Towne Road, Charleston 29407


Come shop and get your spring planting started! We have a great selection of native plants with many hard-to-find species… colorful perennials, shrubs, trees, grasses, ferns and edibles. Cash, check, or credit card accepted. A plant list will be available before the sale on the SCNPS website. Admission to the plant sale is free. If you wish to explore Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, please pay admission in the visitor’s center. For more information, contact Colette DeGarady, ([email protected], 937-8807 ext-15) or visit scnps.org.



Monthly meetings for our lecture series are typically held on the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm at the Biology Auditorium, 101 Duckett Hall, at The Citadel. Park in any visitor spot, Kovat’s Lot, or the lot behind Capers Hall. Avoid any student lots. For directions and further information visit: http://www.citadel.edu/publicsafety/citadelmaps.html Please join us after each lecture for a reception including hors d’oeuvres and wine, plus native plant give-aways!


January 20: Managing Longleaf Pine Understory to Provide Habitat for Wildlife

TJ Saveren, Clemson University Extension Associate and Wildlife Biologist

All wildlife requires the same core habitat elements: food, water, shelter, and space. Many landowners and homeowners want to provide habitat for wildlife, but may fail to recognize that those elements are already present in the landscape prior to undertaking forestry, land clearing, or landscaping operations. As a result, the activities may “clear the slate,” necessitating the reintroduction of vegetation to restore wildlife habitat. In addition to the unnecessary expense and labor, reintroduced vegetation often consists of non-native species which do not provide equivalent benefits and may be detrimental. Come learn how research and proper planning can help avoid these problems.


February 17: How to Make Plants Last Forever… or at Least 100 Years

Joel Gramling, Associate Professor of Plant Ecology and Evolution, The Citadel

The Citadel Herbarium was re-established in 2006 by biology professor Joel Gramling to provide a reference collection for researchers and students of botany in the Lowcountry. The collection specializes in the flora of the Coastal Plain of the Carolinas and Georgia. Dr. Gramling will discuss the value of an herbarium collection and will address the modern and not-so-modern techniques involved in maintaining an herbarium in the 21st century. Photographs of plants in the wild will be compared with preserved specimens from the herbarium. Tips will also be provided on how to develop one’s own plant collection.


March 17: An Introduction to Hobcaw Barony

George Chastain, Education Director at the Belle W. Baruch Foundation

Hobcaw Barony is a 16,000-acre wildlife refuge owned by the non-profit Belle W. Baruch Foundation. With a mission that the land be used for “purposes of teaching and/or research in forestry, marine biology, and the care and propagation of wildlife, flora and fauna in connection with colleges and/or universities in the state of South Carolina,” the property is home to the North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and the Clemson Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science. Mr. Chastain will provide a brief history of the property and will share ongoing research and management practices related to plants in the refuge.

April 21: Bunched Arrowhead Restoration

Jeff Beachman, PhD, State President of South Carolina Native Plant Society

Learn about the Bunched Arrowhead Restoration Project underway at Gateway Elementary School in Greenville. Bunched arrowhead (Sagittaria fasciculata) is a federally endangered plant endemic to the Greenville-Hendersonville area. The project is a unique collaboration between non-profits, volunteers, state and local agencies working to restore a previously unknown population of this rare native plant. Jeff will also share information on the great things happening statewide in our Society.


May 19: Green Roofs: Looking to South Carolina’s Natural Communities for Inspiration

Ethan Kauffman, Garden Director, Moore Farms Botanical Garden

Green roofs lower energy costs, mitigate the urban heat island effect, increase the longevity of roofs and aid with storm water management.  They also send a very positive and visceral message about environmental stewardship.  And let’s be honest, looking up at a stark building of glass and steel topped by a fluffy, colorful garden is just plain cool.  However, they present unique challenges for growing plants, especially in the Southeast where the effects of our long, hot growing season are amplified.  So where do we turn for plants to grow in this hostile environment?  Green roof plant trials conducted at Moore Farms Botanical Garden suggest that South Carolina’s natural communities just might be part of the answer.




Saturday, January 24, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Magnolia Plantation Work Day: The chapter will hold a volunteer workday at Magnolia Plantation’s Audubon Swamp. We will be in the Swamp Garden from 9 am until after lunch. Please bring gloves, work tools (loppers, hack saws), lunch/snacks, and water. Come prepared to work! Contact Jeff Jackson ([email protected]or 478-5827) for further information.


Saturday, February 21, 9:30AM

Construct a Home Herbarium: Dr. Joel Gramling will lead a workshop on how to construct a home herbarium, provide an overview of The Citadel Herbarium facilities and take participants on a short walk to collect plant specimens. Participants should meet at The Citadel at 9:30 am. This event is limited to 12 participants. Please contact Joel Gramling ([email protected]) to sign up.


Saturday, March 21, 1:00 – 4:00 PM, $15 Fee
Tour of Hobcaw Barony:
Join us as we explore one of the largest undeveloped tracts on the Waccamaw Neck. Hobcaw Barony’s 16,000 acres encompass a rich diversity of every common ecosystem found on the South Carolina coast, making this an unparalleled site for research in the environmental sciences. In addition, over 70 cultural sites on the plantation — including cemeteries, slave cabins, and the Baruchs’ homes — provide a time capsule for educators. This property is only open to the public for special programs, so this is an exciting opportunity! We will meet at the Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center (22 Hobcaw Rd, Georgetown, SC 29440) and use their buses to tour the property. There is a $15 fee per person; limited to 28 participants. To sign up, please contact Katie Ellis ([email protected] or 843-906-9916).


Saturday, April 11, 8:45 AM

Palmetto Trail at Turkey Creek Walk: Put on your mud shoes and come join Jeff Jackson for a slog through one of the prettiest and most botanically rich portions along the Swamp Fox Passage of the Palmetto Trail. We will be walking from Conifer Hall Road (mile 19.5 on the trail maps) along the creek to Irishtown Road. Meet at the Rivertowne Harris Teeter on Hwy 41 at 8:45 for a 9 am departure. We hope to be hitting the trail around 10 am. Bring lunch, water, and appropriate shoes! Contact Jeff Jackson ([email protected]or 478-5827) for further information.


Saturday, May 30, 1:00 – 4:00 PM 

Moore Farms Botanical Garden Tour: Moore Farms Botanical Garden is a nonprofit organization set on over 500 acres near Lake City, South Carolina. The garden is cultivated on 50 acres and is a dynamic mix of formal, naturalistic and agrarian landscapes. In addition to many beautiful plants from around the world, more than 700 varieties of South Carolina native plants are cultivated, including many seldom-grown species. Join garden girector Ethan Kauffman as he provides a special tour, highlighting his favorite native plants along the way. The tour is free, but there is a limit of 25 participants. Expect to take home some free plants from the nursery at the end of the tour. To sign up for the trip, please contact Katie Ellis ([email protected], 843-906-9916).

SAVE THE DATE: SC Native Plant Society Annual SymposiumJune 12 – 14, 2015

Come join the Lowcountry Chapter as we host the annual South Carolina Native Plant Society Annual Symposium in North Charleston. The event will include lectures, field trips and social activities. We look forward to seeing you there!

Please contact Jeff Kline or Jeff Jackson if you are interested in volunteering with the event.


LOWCOUNTRY: December 2014 Holiday Party and Ed Shed clean-up

South Carolina Native Plant Society

Tuesday, December 9, 10 am – 12 noon The Ed Shed, Clemson Coastal Research Center, Hwy 17 South
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY – Pre-Holiday Party Ed Shed Spruce-Up
We will be doing some sprucing up before the holiday party. A little weeding, trimming, mulching and hedging. To volunteer, please contact Kim Counts at [email protected] or 722-5940 ext 128.

Tuesday, December 16, 6 – 9 pm, The Ed Shed, Clemson Coastal Research Center, Hwy 17 South
Lowcountry Chapter Holiday Party!
We will be taking our party to the great outdoors again! This year’s event will be hosted in West Ashley at the Clemson University Coastal Research and Education Center’s “Ed Shed.” We will have a roof over our heads, a great fire pit with a roaring fire. It’s a potluck, so bring your favorite dish. We will provide some Lowcountry fare, so come prepared to eat. Bring the family! This facility is across the street from the USDA Vegetable Laboratory on Savannah Highway in West Ashley. If coming from downtown Charleston or 526, pass the USDA Veggie Laboratory on your right, then take your second left (note: the first left is just a simple median cut-through) into the farm entrance. If you hit a school speed zone you have gone too far. Once you have entered the farm, take a left and follow signs to the Ed Shed. For more info, contact Jeff Jackson at [email protected] or 478-5827.