Green Swamp History with Frank Galloway

Frank Galloway

Last Friday we had the pleasure of attending a guided hike in the Green Swamp with area resident expert Frank Galloway.  Frank grew up in the Green Swamp region and many of his distant relatives called the swamp home as well.  We enjoyed Franks stories about the Green Swamp’s naval stores history and the medicinal uses of many of the native plants.  It was a beautiful day, a cool morning for June, and we saw lots of interesting things.

Colic root

Frank has been roaming around the Green Swamp for years but he is a horticulturist by trade.  With a degree from NC State his specialty is hybridizing pitcher plants but his knowledge of medicinal plants and Green Swamp history is quite extensive too.  He explained how a common savanna plant, colic root, was used to treat many ailments including stomach ache, anxiety, and appetite loss.  The roots and leaves were used to make herbal infusions in water or oil tinctures.

Frank standing on a remnant tar pit

Frank told stories about his distant relatives using the Green Swamp savannas to make tar and turpentine during the naval stores industry in the 1800’s.  We saw remnant tar pits where longleaf pine trees were slowly burned to extract the tar.

Cat faced longleaf pine stump

He also showed the remains of cat faced longleaf pine stumps which were tapped to collect sap to make turpentine.  The trees were scarred with a chevron cut and the sap was collected in a bucket at the base of tree.  There are many of these old cat faced stumps in the Green Swamp.

Richard LeBlond explains the structure of the savanna iris to TNC fire crew member Lauren

Amongst the group was another savanna plant expert, Richard LeBlond, a botanist that is retired from the NC Natural Heritage Program and remains an Associate of the University of North Carolina Herbarium.  Richard shared lots of plant information with us, including the unique structure of the savanna iris.

Venus flytrap flower

The Venus flytraps were still blooming away, it has been a great year for them due to the copious amounts of rain we have been getting…

Huckleberries ready for the picking

…and the huckleberries were ripe; delicious!

We can’t thank Frank enough for leading our hike, hopefully we can do it again someday!  Thanks Frank!

What a great group of folks


About secpnc

My name is Sara Babin and I am the Conservation Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy Southeast Coastal Plain program in Wilmington, NC. Our office is responsable for the maintenance and restoration of 35,000 acres of preserve land owned by The Nature Conservancy. We protect the land for ecologically significant species in hopes to ensure a lasting natural history legacy for future generations to enjoy. This blog will highlight our most exciting activities and events with much of the focus being on our controlled burn program. With this blog we hope to share the ins and outs of what we do and how it is bettering the world for plants, animals, and people.
This entry was posted in Green Swamp, history, Naval stores, pine savanna, plants, pocosin. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s