Upstate Meeting: To the West and Back

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Upstate Program, Tuesday, Jan 21.  Join Dan and Sherrie Whitten as they take us:

To the West and Back – A Journey that Surpassed All Expectations!

Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery? Well, uh, no, not that one. The journey we’ll hear about is a tad more recent, but it too was fueled by a quest for knowledge and filled with the thrill of discovery.

In 2019 Dan and Sherrie Whitten traveled through several western states, hiking, looking and learning.


There’s much plant life in the West that is totally unlike that of our lush green southern mountains and adjacent gentle hills, but there are a surprising number of plants that are jarringly similar.

For instance, Maianthemum stellatum / Smilacina stellata (Starry Solomon’s Plume, Starflower, or – the name that says it all! – Star-flowered False Solomon’s Seal)

is immediately recognizable. But wait… and you bring up in your mind’s eye an image of the plant you’re more familiar with, and ponder the ways in which the

two species differ: The western Starflower’s flowers are fewer, larger, and more star-like than those of our familiar False Solomon’s Seal / Eastern Solomon’s Plume (M. racemosum / S. racemosa), and they are borne in a raceme not a many-branched panicle.

Erythronium grandiflorum (Glacier Lily) is another look-alike. At first glance Glacier Lily looks like a robust version of our delicate Trout Lily (E. umbilicatum), but look close! Its leaves are not mottled and its flowers don’t have the purple backing. About it, Flora of North America says “This beautiful species is often very abundant in mountain meadows of western North America, especially in the Rocky Mountains, where it may form spectacular displays.”

Dan and Sherrie Whitten are both Master Naturalists as well as being active SCNPS members. If you’ve been on a field trip with them you can attest to their keen powers of observation, and it will be a pleasure to see western flora through their eyes!

Dan is a Past President and frequent field trip leader of SCNPS’s Upstate Chapter, Past President of the Upstate Master Naturalist Association, an instructor in the South Carolina Native Plants Certificate program, and tour boat captain with Jocassee Lake Tours. Sherrie is President of Friends of Jocassee and Past President of the Upstate Master Naturalist Association.

The program will be on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at the Landrum Depot, 211 S 562, Landrum, SC 29356.  It begins at 7pm.  Arrive at 6:30 for socializing and refreshments.

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