Where the ground is not maintained the habitat returns to its pre-disturbance floral climax on the forested perimeters. I see a zebra swallowtail alighting on a blazingstar for nectar and attempt to move in further for a better photo op. It is a skittish beauty; moving away from my advances until I stop to wait for it to circle back to me. It gets no closer than ten feet. The black swallowtail is more accommodating.
Moving further down slope I encounter a wetland nearly void of water. Here the floral community changes to represent freshwater emergent and submergents. Some of which are familiar to those back home – spike rushes (Eleocharis spp.), centella (centella erecta), and my favorites, umbrella sedge (fuirena spp.), meadow beauty (Rhexia virginica), blue waterleaf (Hydrolea ovata) and water willow (Justicia lanceolata). I notice a significant present of Japanese climbing fern (Lygodium japonicum) on the ground. It has the capacity to creep up trees and when dry can act as a "ladder fuel" to draw fire up in the canopy. Moving along I encounter the water and seeing as how it is still present in this drought the flora changes also to reflect plants that can withstand permanent inundation. Here I notice the yellow surface flowers of bladderwort (Utricularia gibba) and pick it up to reveal the tiny submerged "trap door" nodules which capture microscopic invertebrates. I was hoping to see other carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants and butterworts but the soils here are not acidic enough. Water tolerant tupelo (Nyssa spp.) towered over mid-story buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) and titi (Cyrilla racemiflora). I may not have sighted the other carnivores but almost as special at my feet was a plant I’ve only seen after it senescence – yellow eye-grass. More than likely Xyris louisianica. My photo did not do it justice as only a few flowers were emerging. Xyris is the only genera of the family Xyridaceae represented in North America.