Field Guide to Georgia

March 26, 2018

Field Guide to Georgia

It's the Peach State, but unfortunately I was unable to include them on this chart because I found out they're actually native to China! Franciscan monks introduced peaches to Georgia's barrier islands in 1571, they were grown by the Cherokee in the 1700s, but didn't really catch hold as produce until around the Civil War. I didn't have a ton of familiarity with Georgia before starting this guide, having only driven through on my way to Gainesville, but I was particularly surprised by the marine life Georgia has to offer. South Carolina and Georgia are marketed as coastal destinations, but Georgia has its own National Seashore in Cumberland Island, and is also home to the Colonial Coast Birding Trail where over 75% of the bird species of Georgia have been spotted. It's the home to the start of the Appalachian Trail, the sixth most biodiverse state, and a state that I'm a little ashamed to say that I've really overlooked in the past. One of the unexpected perks of this project is I'm getting to see states in a way that makes them feel like home. And on that note - your Georgian neighbors - 

Chattahoochee Bass - I can not tell a lie - I chose this based on the Alan Jackson song, but it's a really stunning fish in its own right. The Chattahoochee runs the length of Georgia, changes names in Florida, and eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico. It's home to 24 species of freshwater fish, one of which is the Chattahoochee Bass - it's the only species of bass with bright orange coloration on its fins.

Southern Flannel Moth - From the first time I saw an Imperial Moth I've been completely taken with plushy, decadent moths, and the Southern Flannel is no exception. Its larvae are known as puss caterpillars and are one of the most venomous caterpillar species in the states. The fuzzy caterpillar's looks are endearing (even after knowing how toxic they were I found myself wanting to touch), but its soft fur covers toxic spines. 

Ogeechee Tupelo - The water loving tupelo only grows in swampy areas, so the only source for the regional delicacy of tupelo honey is the Florida Georgia line. It's a single source honey that is certified in Florida through pollen analysis, and unlike other honeys, it doesn't crystallize (for reasons that I couldn't determine, but I'm guessing may have something to do with its low dextrose content). 

So Georgia, that's yall! Hope there's no hard feelings for not being able to include hometown goodboy Uga. 

SOURCES:

https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/peaches
http://georgiawildlife.com/fishing/identification
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/moths/puss.htm
http://www.honeytraveler.com/single-flower-honey/tupelo-honey/



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