Most notably, the Big Hammock preserve harbors one of the state’s rarest wild plants, the Georgia plume, a small, showy, white-flowered tree that occurs nowhere else in the world except in a few South Georgia counties. The largest population occurs in the Big Hammock preserve. (A hammock is a rise in elevation of an otherwise flat landscape.)
The natural area’s remarkable diversity drew several of us Georgia Botanical Society members there last weekend. Bobby Hattaway, the society’s current president, led us along a 1.3-mile trail through the array of habitats with their huge mix of plant species. (We found the Georgia plume just coming into full bloom.) Hattaway, a botanist who taught at Georgia Southern University, is thoroughly familiar with the flora and geology of Big Hammock, which is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.