Okefenokee Swamp's Fetterbush will make you stagger and shout!

The story of the Okefenokee's "Fetterbush"...
Photographer: William Wise | iNat Observation: 45350400 - Fetterbush Lyonia (Lyonia lucida; Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia. March 11, 2020. ©williamwisephoto.com

In the spring, the Okefenokee Swamp shrubbery is decorated with delicate rows of tiny, pinkish-white bells. These small flowers are of the Lyonia lucida bush. Although they look and smell like a sweet Valentine’s Day treat, they haven’t always been thought of so fondly, as revealed by a few of their common names: fetterbush, staggerbush and hurrah bush.

Fetterbush grows thickly and is often entangled with other shrubs and vines, such as the well-armed greenbrier. Being so thick, it fetters the legs of anyone attempting cross the swamp on foot. Fetters were prisoners’ iron shackles in a less politically correct age. In fact, when his weakness was exploited, the Biblical strongman Samson was “bound in fetters of brass to grind in the prison house.” Lyonia’s other common name, Hurrah bush, comes from the exclamatory shout for joy made by the swamp adventurer that finally makes it through the thickets and staggers into a clearing.

-Schoettle, Taylor. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Okefenokee Swamp. Darien, Sea to Sea Printing and Publishing, 2019.

Publicado el abril 25, 2024 07:04 TARDE por williamwisephoto williamwisephoto


Great stories. Reminds me of a woman who I visited who was often secluded in her woodland property and welcomed a stranger. I asked her the names of plants and she would explain that she had to name them herself because the men, who knew the names, would not take time to share them with her. I was charmed by her names, but unfortunately not enough to remember her names. But, I remember another name. When visiting an old timer's dad who seemed to live healthily, his meals from a cast iron kettle over a wood stove which was always burning, and which was replenished by fresh kill. New to the area, I asked him what the red flowers blooming along the paved roads were called. He confessed he didn't know what others called it, but he called if "everywheres" because it was everywhere. It was red clover.

Publicado por mfeaver hace alrededor de 2 meses

@mfeaver Nice story! I too love the colloquial names given by locals. I worked with an older, southern woman and her names and sayings were great. I wish I had written them all down because now she's passed on. She used "candle-flies" for moths and "sandy-mounders" (salamanders) for moles. One of my favorite sayings was usually directed toward the younger, lazier people we would hire. She's say, "He's so useless, he wouldn't strike a lick at a snake!"

Publicado por williamwisephoto hace alrededor de 2 meses

There was confidence of time and place then. I wish we would have all learned to have respected that trove of wisdom.

Publicado por mfeaver hace alrededor de 2 meses

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