However, bogs are important eco-systems that often get overlooked. They're fragile, and even footprints can cause problems for plants who need the spongy, water-filled soil to grow.
The Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog between Magnolia Springs and Fairhope, Alabama is meant to help preserve a unique area, part waterscape, part landscape, where carnivorous plants can grow.
Our kind host, David from Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast, suggested the visit while we were in the area covering barbecue. It was a welcome diversion and a nice warm walk to get everything going (especially
After parking in a gravel lot, we crossed the road and stepped onto the boardwalk that courses through the reserve. The boardwalk allows for distance between our feet and the delicate root systems of the plants. A
Carnivorous plants obtain some of their nutrients by capturing and digesting insects and other small creatures. With the pitcher plants, prey are attracted to the sweet smell and fall down into their tubular, modified leaves. The sticky hairs on those leaves trap insects, and they are slowly digested.
Periodically, the bog must be burned so the plants within it can renews. That's probably pretty alarming, but it's a perfectly normal part of the life cycle here.
See what I saw as we walked through the bog.
You can learn more about the Weeks Bay Pitcher Plant Bog and the estuary system it's in, by checking in at the Reserve Interpretive Center nearby. There's also information on this website. The Center is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The pitcher plant bog boardwalk, along with another boardwalk in the area, are open daily.