Florida Wildflowers Special Report

      No one has seen anything like this habitat for trout lilies, trilliums and orchids near Cairo, Ga.           Photo by Robin Kennedy

Wolf Creek tract attracts visitors to a heritage for future
generations; private donor came through to make difference

By Michael E. Abrams

A private donor provided the money, and now the dream has come true.

The destiny of one of the most awe-inspiring botanical landscapes in the flowering South is now in the books.

 Dan Miller, who helped realize the dream, says there are 30-50 million estimated trout lilies, a rare flower, on the property.

A local plantation owner stepped forward to fund the balance of funds needed to permit Grady County to purchase the Wolf Creek Trout Lily tract, according Miller, the project coordinator.

 The purchase closed in 2009. 

"The Native Plant Societies of Florida and Georgia wish to thank the many supporters of this preservation effort for their help and financial assistance," said Miller.

Any funds received in excess of the amount needed for purchase will be used for stewardship purposes, he said.

Two years ago,  $48,000 stood between dream and realization of the prize, according to backers of  the plan who were working on saving 140 acres in rural South Georgia as a nature preserve for future generations. 

It's home of the greatest expanse of trout lilies known to exist anywhere, say experts.

The fertile land spills over with orchids, trilliums, violets and beautiful oak, pine, beech, magnolia and hickory.

The effort, spearheaded by Miller, a prominent native plant nurseryman of Tallahassee,  resulted in a $342,750 grant from the Georgia Land Conservation Program.

That would have been half the price asked. A lower total price from the landowner, along with $51,500 in private donations,  brought the deadline within reach.

The success is the result of a collaborative effort of the Magnolia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, the Georgia Botanical Society and the Georgia Native Plant Society.
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More Information:

Grady County–Wolf Creek
Grady County Courthouse
250 N. Broad St. #7
Cairo, GA

Directions to Wolf Creek
from Tallahassee

Take US 319 north from Tallahassee. Turn left on to GA 93 at Beachton and proceed to Cairo, Ga. Turn left at intersection of GA 93 and US 84 about 5.7 miles and turn left onto Wolf Creek Road (just past the bridge). Entrance gate and parking area is about 200 yares on the left. There are no bathroom facilities.

Dan Miller  email:

850-212-9533 (cell)


The land is owned by the Grady County Commission, which is also behind efforts to preserve this fragile habitat. As proposed, the land would be managed as a passive nature preserve in collaboration with The Red Hills Land Conservancy and the nearby Bird Song Nature Center.

The rare trout lilies thrive in moist, cool, rich soil under very special conditions. They were first noted by botanist Angus Gholson of Chattahoochee,  Miller recently told a large group from the Plant Society.

The trout lily is an endangered species in Florida, and rarely seen in South Georgia. It is a harbinger of springtime.

Among plants present are the Trillium maculatum, bloodroot, the crane fly and green fly orchids, and the Southern tway blade orchid.

                                       Photo by author
Trout lily  - Erythronium umbilicatum  

                                               Photo by author
Unusual pink-edged trout lily leaf
seen at Wolf Creek in 2011

'Thanks to all'
   -Dan Miller

Dan Miller of Tallahassee leads visitors on tour of
property. Hundreds of photographs were taken and there were many "oohs" and "ahs" at the splendor of the land.  Large photo above story by Robin Kennedy. Photos of lily, trillium, visitors by
M. Abrams.  Copyright of the photographers.

Trillium maculatum takes several years to show bloom



The first flowers of spring liberate us from the chill of winter and the muted landscape of the hibernating earth. They bring color to the world and a sense of rebirth and new energy.

Photo/art by author.