Oconee bells are blooming now, and the white flowers look like drifts of melting snow across the hillsides of the Jocassee Gorges.  The history of this wild little plant, known to science as Shortia galacifolia, has led to quests and symposiums and more questions than answers. Why did Andre Michaux, the botanical explorer who first found the plant in 1787, find it barely worth mentioning? Why couldn’t Asa Gray, the eminent botanist who found a dried specimen of plant in Paris -- who was writing the book on Flora of North America -- figure out where it grew? Why was this plant, one that grew so abundantly along the many tributaries draining into Jocassee Valley... why was this plant ultimately rediscovered 100 miles away in the Catawba River drainage in NC, with no known populations in between?  And why was the tiny, disjunct population rediscovered in NC genetically different from Oconee bells in the Jocassee Gorges? We live in the midst of a mystery, and once a year, when the diminutive groundcover is blooming, we become sleuths. ~K





Mostly Clear


Salem, SC

Mostly Clear

Humidity: 44%

Wind: 4 mph

  • 24 Mar 2017

    Partly Cloudy 64°F 43°F

  • 25 Mar 2017

    Cloudy 65°F 51°F

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and preserve the beauty of Lake
  Jocassee and the Jocassee
   Gorges by joining FOJ!




  Your Portal to Paradise


Mountain Lakes Convention
    and Visitors Bureau

Home Away From Home!



CONTACT US: info@jocasseelaketours.com

Phone: 864-280-5501

We depart from the main boat dock at Devils Fork State Park 161 Holcombe Circle, Salem SC, 28676