Preserving Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies

The Rocky Shoals Spider Lily Preserve at Parks Mill

Rocky Shoals spider lily (Hymenocallis coronaria) at The Rocky Shoals Spider Lily Preserve at Parks Mill. Credit: Bill Sharpton

This Preserve is near the town of Plum Branch, and consists of 15 acres of pine hardwood forest, 200 yards along Stevens Creek, a large population of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies (Hymenocallis coronaria) in the creek, and a reasonably intact turbine-powered grist mill. This site has been protected through the joint efforts of SCNPS, the Naturaland Trust in Greenville, and the Upper Savannah Land Trust in Greenwood.

Longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus) at Rocky Shoals Spider Lily Preserve. Credit: Jeff Beachum

The Creek

The creek bed is home to a large and prosperous population of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies (Hymenocallis coronaria), a 2.5-foot-tall lily with large (4-inch diameter) white flowers that appear in profusion in early May thru mid-June every year, with peak bloom during the middle two weeks of May. The Rocky Shoals Spider Lily is the major reason for protecting the site. However, there is also an active aquatic animal community in the creek, including longnose gar and other fish species, with an accompanying predator community, including ospreys, herons, kingfishers, raccoons, and river otters.

Old Mill Building repairs at The Rocky Shoals Spider Lily Preserve at Parks Mill. Credit: Bill Stringer

Mill Building and Machinery

The mill building and machinery are largely intact but non-functional. In working to restore the mill building, we have uncovered evidence that, in addition to a grist mill, there was a sawmill and a cotton gin on the site. There is a dam and millpond on the neighboring property, with a millrace canal that conveyed water about 200 yards to a penstock and two turbines that generated the torque that operated the mill machinery. We are actively working (and fundraising) to restore the mill building to a sustainable condition.

Single bloom of rocky shoals spider lily (Hymenocallis coronaria). Credit: Mac Stone

Visiting The Rocky Shoals Spider Lily Preserve at Parks Mill

Access to this protected site is only available by appointment.  Please email Bill Stringer to arrange a tour.

There are opportunities to visit the site in May when the Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies are in bloom.  Dates and times are posted to our Events calendar several weeks in advance.