From a Limestone Outcrop

By William T. Hathaway

Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla)

The Nodding Thistle, Black-Stemmed Spleenwort Fern, and Twinleaf are species within Pittsylvania County that are confined to limestone and marl outcrops. These outcrops occur near Museville and Pittsville. This pictured Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla) was photographed on a steep, north-facing, woodland slope near the base of the Smith Mountain Dam. Other limestone outcrops along the edges of the Pigg River produce soils that are favorable to calcareous demanding plants.

It was a thrill to have found this plant, named after Thomas Jefferson, within our county. So far, this is the only recorded site within Pittsylvania County.

Also see this illustration in larger format.