Discover the beautiful carnivorous plants of the Gulf Coast
- Cost: US $2,600 per person for 10 days / 9 nights (all inclusive from start point to end point).
- Start Point: The Georgian Terrace Hotel, 659 Peachtree Street Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30308 USA.
- End Point: George Bush Intercontinental Airport, TX USA.
- Dates: To be agreed jointly with group members (email us for details). We recommend June, July or August 2018.
- Group Size: 6–10
- Bespoke Tour: If you do not wish to join a group tour, we can customise a private trip to fit your dates and interests. Please email us for details and a quote.
The Gulf Coast states of the southern USA are home to many of the most spectacular carnivorous plants of the world. Dozens of colourful pitcher plant taxa grow alongside carnivorous butterworts, bladderworts and sundews in extensive, well-managed nature reserves. Join this expedition to observe diverse populations of orchids and wildflowers growing alongside carnivorous plants, and gain a detailed understanding of the delicate ecology of these rare wetland habitats and the inspiring conservation work being undertaken to safeguard them for the future.
Please note: All of the sites on the expedition itinerary are well-managed, frequently-patrolled nature reserves. This expedition is strictly observation only. No plants, seeds, cuttings or sample materials of any kind may be removed from any of the sites that we will be visiting.
Day 1: Pick up from the Georgian Terrace Hotel, Atlanta, GA. Depart hotel by 9 am for Atlanta Botanical Gardens to tour their renowned carnivorous plant collection and planted bog gardens. Dinner in Atlanta with a briefing about the expedition and carnivorous plant conservation. Overnight at hotel in Atlanta.
Day 2: Early morning start and transfer to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge - one of North America’s largest, most unspoilt and intact wetland habitats. We visit sites that are home to the spectacular pitcher plant Sarracenia minor var. okefenokeensis, as well as several species of Drosera, Pinguicula and Utricularia. Overnight in hotel accommodation near the refuge.
Day 3: We spend a full day exploring deep inside the Okefenokee swamp. Participants can undertake a canoe or kayak trip through the beautiful cypress swamp channels or, for those not fond of water activities, walk the trails. Fantastic photographic opportunities exist for local wildlife, including shy alligators, as well as floating stands of giant Sarracenia minor var. okefenokeensis, S. psittacina var. okefenokeensis and many sundews, butterworts and aquatic bladderworts. Overnight in hotel accommodation near the refuge.
Day 4: An early morning start and transfer to the Doerun Preserve to see the diminutive, but beautiful Sarracenia minor var. minor, then onward to Apalachicola National Forest in Florida. Depending upon how much time we choose to spend at Doerun, if we arrive before 4.00 pm, we can proceed to sites in Apalachicola NF, or proceed to hotel accommodation nearby.
Day 5: After breakfast at the hotel, we explore three sites in Apalachicola National Forest to see spectacular stands of Sarracenia flava var. atropurpurea, S. flava var. rubricorpora, S. flava var. rugelii, S. purpurea ssp. venosa var. burkii, S. psittacina var. okefenokeensis, Drosera filiformis var. tracyi, D. capillaris, Pinguicula planifolia and many other spectacular carnivorous plants. In the afternoon, we visit a small bog near the town of Hosford, where Dionaea muscipula (the venus’s flytrap) has naturalised, now forming extensive stands. We explore the Yellow River Marsh Preserve at sunset to see S. rubra ssp. gulfensis, as well as S. leucophylla, S. x moorei, S. x naczii, and an amazing display of Drosera tracyi, and then stay in a hotel nearby.
Day 6: We start early and visit two sites to explore extensive populations of spectacular Sarracenia leucophylla and S. purpurea ssp. venosa var. burkii. We have lunch in a local restaurant, then drive to the Splinter Hill Bog to explore an enormous population of Sarracenia leucophylla including both S. leucophylla var. leucophylla, the rare (almost pure white) S. leucophylla var. alba, S. rubra ssp. wherryi and S. psittacina var. psittacina. We check into a hotel for the night near Splinter Hill and savour Alabama’s traditional cuisine in a local restaurant.
Day 7: After exploring a wetland at Franklin Creek that is home to particularly beautiful Sarracenia leucophylla, we drive west and stop at roadside bogs home to S. alata var. alata and Drosera filiformis var. tracyi. After lunch en-route, we enter Mississippi and reach the DeSoto National Forest to explore enormous, spectacular stands of S. alata (all varieties, including the rare S. alata var. nigropurpurea), as well as S. psittacina var. psittacina and many Drosera, Pinguicula and Utricularia. We overnight and dine in the nearby town of Wiggins.
Day 8: We have a slightly more relaxed morning today, leaving by 10 am to drive to the Crosby Arboretum, home to extensive stands of Sarracenia alata. We then drive to the Abita Springs Preserve to follow a very interesting boardwalk through a carnivorous plant wetland. We lunch at the nearby Abita Brew Pub. During the afternoon, we visit one further site, the Lake Ramsay Preserve, home to a distinctively different, squatter form of S. alata, and then drive to New Orleans where we check into the Best Western Plus French Quarter Landmark Hotel. We spend the evening relaxing and exploring charming New Orleans.
Day 9: We leave New Orleans by 8am and drive into Texas to visit large populations of Sarracenia alata in the Kisatchie National Forest and Sabine National Forest to observe the significant differences in the populations of this species in these, the westernmost reaches of the species’ range. Plants here consist mainly of S. alata var. alata, but show notably different morphology from the stands of the species that we have seen previously. We overnight at a hotel in the town of Jasper and dine locally to savour Texan cuisine.
Day 10: We leave the hotel by 8 am and spend the morning visiting populations of Sarracenia alata in the Geraldine Watson Preserve. After lunch, we drive to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, arriving in time for 8 pm departing flights, or to drop expedition members off at hotels nearby.
Atlanta, Georgia (the start point) and Houston, Texas(the end point) are extensively connected by numerous airlines to cities across the USA and abroad.
Adventure Rating: Relaxing
Many choose to combine this trip with our six day Darlingtonia and Redwoods Adventure to see the most spectacular carnivorous plants of Oregon and California. Alternatively, we can organise bespoke trips to Carolina to visit several key carnivorous plant locations there.