TRAVELERS REST — The South Carolina Native Plant Society has released Wild Plants on the Rabbit, a new, pocket-sized brochure about the native and naturalized plants growing along the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
The Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail runs nearly 20 miles, from above the town of Travelers Rest into the heart of Greenville, until terminating in Lake Conestee Nature Park.
For much of its length following the Reedy River or the route of an old railroad, the Trail is widely praised — both for its role in encouraging healthful exercise and for the economic boon it’s been to the community.
Other, less obvious, benefits are its value as a wildlife corridor and as an outdoor classroom. The Trail adjoins woodlands and wetlands, gardens and gullies, resulting in an interesting mix of wildflowers and weeds.
Riding or walking the Trail provides a glimpse into Greenville’s communal “backyard” where, for the most part, plants have been left to fend for themselves. Sharp eyes may spot the small white flowers of the rare, federally protected Bunched Arrowhead, or be surprised to encounter Trillium, Bloodroot, or other wildflowers normally encountered in more pristine woodlands.
Then again they may start taking note of the plant bullies — invasive plants that have escaped cultivation and established themselves along the river or the old rail bed, such as Fig Buttercup, Japanese Knotweed, and Tree-of-heaven.
Over 100 different plant species are featured in the brochure, with a photograph and a short description, and a map of the Trail is included for reference. Trail users are encouraged to use the brochure as a checklist, checking off plants as they spot them.
The brochure also provides a link to a more complete plant inventory. SCNPS members have currently documented almost 400 species growing wild on the Trail, and the list is far from complete.
If Trail users see a plant on the Trail that they cannot find in this list, the Society’s website offers a service where they can submit their own photos for identification (http://scnps.org/swamprabbit).
The SC Native Plant Society is a statewide organization working to preserve, protect and restore native plant communities in South Carolina. Field trips, plant rescues, workdays, and monthly meetings are open to the public.
Wild Plants on the Rabbit brochures are free and are available at SCNPS events and at Cafe @ Williams Hardware; Greenville County Parks, Recreation & Tourism (office); Greenville Visitors Center; Lake Conestee Nature Park (office); Sunrift Adventures; the Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery; and the Travelers Rest branch of United Community Bank.