By: Shakira Ibrahim – LandTrust intern and civil engineering student at N.C. Agricultural and Technical University
Walk through the forest at Redlair Preserve, an approximately 750-acre property preserved in Gaston County, and you will see in the understory something that look like a design by Dr. Seuss: A medium-sized tree sporting massive flowers and tropical-looking leaves that can grow 30 inches long and a foot wide. The trees are bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla), and they are truly a remarkable sight. Now a key stronghold of this regionally imperiled tree has been named an N.C. Plant Conservation Program preserve. As such, the property will be managed to protect rare plant species.
Redlair, formerly the property of Haywood Rankin and his family, is now owned by the N.C. Plant Conservation Program, with the Catawba Lands Conservancy holding easements on portions of the property. The land preserves the bigleaf, first described by French explorer-botanist Andre Michaux in the late 1700s. The property is home to many other unique native plants, including a large population of pink lady slippers and the federally endangered Schweinitz’s sunflower. [Read more…]