Caption: Coastal Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) is a native shrub that grows in the wetlands of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. It does not perform well on well-drained soil, but is ideally suited for the area’s poorly-drained soils. It is the last native shrub to bloom in the area and attracts a wide variety of butterflies and bees with its sweet fragrance. It is especially attractive to Palamedes swallowtail butterflies (pictured). Those butterflies lay their eggs on the red bay, another plant that grows in the area’s pocosins. The larvae eat the red bay leaves before becoming adults.
Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is one of six national wildlife refuges in the Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges Complex. Pocosin Lakes Visitor Center, located in Columbia, NC, is open 9am to 4pm whenever volunteer staffing is available.