A Native Species of Yucca

by Crystal Cockman

April 10, 2017

You may have been out wandering along a streamside in the Uwharries and noticed a strange occurrence – yucca plants along a hillside or bluff – and assumed they were escaped from someone’s yard. In actuality, they are native and belong in that landscape, and are known by the scientific name of Yucca filamentosa. Although yuccas are more classically thought of as desert and grassland plants found in the west, there are some native yuccas in the East.

Yucca filamentosa is a species of flowering plant, shrub actually, native to the southeastern United States from Virginia south to Florida into Mississippi and Louisiana. They are most commonly seen in sandy soils, along beaches or dunes, but are also found on rocky slopes, which is where they are most commonly seen in the Uwharries. Common names include Adam’s needle, Spanish bayonet, and needle palm. [Read more…]

Congaree - A Mysterious Forest of Champions

by Ruth Ann Grissom


The Uwharries have produced state champion longleaf and shortleaf pines, but the vast majority of loblollies in the region are harvested long before they reach maturity. I tend to think of them as a long-rotation crop. A recent visit to Congaree National Park near Columbia, S.C., reminded me of the loblolly’s glorious potential.

At more than 26,000 acres, the park encompasses the nation’s largest contiguous tract of southern old-growth bottomland forest. The canopy is among the tallest broadleaf forests in the world. Before Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the park boasted 14 state and seven national champion trees. Record species include understory trees such as pawpaw and American holly in addition to the loblolly and other canopy trees such as sweetgum and cherrybark oak.

[Read more…]

Fifth Annual Uwharrie Naturalist Weekend

by Crystal Cockman

April 4, 2017

The LandTrust will host our 5th annual Uwharrie Naturalist Weekend on May 13th this year. The Naturalist Weekend is a one of a kind event in the Uwharries. It is a day of nature exploration and showcases the 1,300-acre Low Water Bridge Preserve on the Uwharrie River in Montgomery County.

John Gerwin, ornithologist at the North Carolina Museum of Sciences in Raleigh, will lead a morning hike, pointing out unique bird species by sight and sound along the way. Neotropical migrant songbirds will be abundant at this time of year, and the hike will also feature discussions about native plants, reptiles, amphibians, and other species found along the way. The hike will begin at 9:00am.

We will also have a paddle down the Uwharrie River during the morning, starting at 11:00am. The event is free if you bring your own boat. If you would like to use one of our boats, the fee is $35. [Read more…]

Check out our Spring 2017 Newsletter!

Northern Flicker

by Crystal Cockman

March 23, 2017

Photo by Jeff Beane

The Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) is native to most of North America, parts of Central America, Cuba and the Cayman islands. They are one of a few species of woodpecker that migrate. Flickers in the northern part of their range move south for the winter. They are a medium-sized woodpecker, brown in color with black spots and bars on their body, and a white rump patch that stands out when they are in flight. They have a shock of red on the back of their heads, and males have a black (in the east) or red (in the west) mustached stripe at the base of their beaks.

In the east, the undersides of the wing and tail feathers are yellow. In the west, they are red. This is probably why eastern Northern Flickers are also called yellowhammer woodpeckers. There’s a classic Appalachian trout fly that used to use the feathers of northern flickers called a Yellow Hammer or Yellarhammer fly. It’s not legal to take a northern flicker, so there are synthetic feathers that look similar that you can get to tie the fly. You can read more about them and learn how to tie them in Roger Lowe’s Fly Pattern Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains. Roger is from Waynesville, NC. [Read more…]