The Catawba River is home to the largest known stand of the rocky shoals spider lily, a flower species found predominantly in the Southeast. Peak bloom season for the rocky shoals spider lily is during May and June. You can see the blooms at nearby Landsford Canal State Park, where acres and acres of white spider like blooms stretch across the water.
Landsford Canal State Park is home to the well-preserved remains of the canal system that made the river commercially navigable from 1820 to 1835. Boats ferrying goods to and from the coast used nearby Landsford Canal to bypass this difficult stretch of the river where the elevation drops. The lilies grow on the fall line. Their bulbs lodge into crevices among the rocks. It is fascinating to see the dainty flowers thriving with so much water tumbling past them, and, after heavy rains, over them. Rocky shoals spider lilies are found only in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. They are listed as “a national species of concern.”
If you enjoy flowers, Landsford Canal State Park is also home to the Cardinal Flower, Jack-in-the-pulpit, crane-fly orchid, spicebush, spiderwort, Solomon’s seal, fire pink, and yellow passionflower. The park offers a picnic shelter, playground, bird watching, geocaching, and of course, hiking. You can also explore the remains of the canal, one of four built on the Catawba-Wateree river system and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To learn more about the park, visit their website at https://southcarolinaparks.com/landsford-canal.