One of the most biodiverse areas in the Southeast – and certainly in Florida – the Apalachicola River basin shelters a stunning array of pitcher plants. Although their blooming season begins in mid-April, the strong colors of their stems, where they trap and dissolve insects – stand out against the grasses.
Along the rims of cypress strands, trumpet-leaf pitcher plants swarm in masses, creating their own stream of green beneath the shrubs.
Our travels this past week led us down several of my favorite scenic drives. We rambled between Hosford and Bristol, both west of Tallahassee, by leaving SR 20 (which connects them all) and following SR 65 south to Telogia. From there, it was an hour’s leisurely drive down CR 67 to Carrabelle, with a few stops to check on trailheads along the way.
As guests of RiverWay South Apalachicola Choctawhatchee for a couple of days, we didn’t have control over the return route. But as luck would have it, we followed a beautiful piece of the Big Bend Scenic Byway (US 98, in this section) from Carrabelle almost to Eastpoint before heading north on SR 65 towards Hosford.
I suggested to our host that we take the Apalachee Savannas Scenic Byway towards Bristol, and I’m glad we did. For it was here we found these wildflowers. John spotted them as we sped by. We turned around to check them out. There are many places in the Apalachee Savannas where you’ll see clusters of pitcher plants, but this was one of the showier displays, especially with the other wildflowers around them.
On a pretty summer morning, before the afternoon thundershowers, it’s well worth a drive on this loop for wildflower spotting. Yes, these are bogs, so depending on recent rains, you may sink into the mud a little while wandering around for photographs.
Remember to spray your shoes, socks, and lower legs with insect repellent before wading out into the grasslands. We knew better, and we ended up with chigger bites because the excitement of seeing this beauty spot helped us forget about taking a moment to protect ourselves against the insects of summer.