In this post:
- Arabia Mountain, Georgia's Diamorpha Elf Orpine haven
- (what the heck is Elf Orpine?)
- Local Wonders Near You
Special. Kids love to hear about things that are special... and Rare. We sometimes call them "Wonders". They are wonders because they are rare, brief, spectacular, dangerous, loud, bright, subtle, or just plain cool.
Where are the natural wonders in your area? When's the last time you visited?
One such wonder lies 20 minutes east of Atlanta, Georgia at Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. Arabia Mountain, even without Elf Orpine, is a wonder for kids all on its own. It's a monadnock that is part of the 9 mile long pluton, an igneous intrusion that pokes above the hilly Georgia countryside in 3 notable natural monuments: Panola Mountain to the south, Arabia in the middle, and the 1,686' tall Stone Mountain to the North. Arabia is a hidden gem - a kids-sized rock mountain full of seasonal rain pools to explore.
Diamorpha smallii or Elf Orpine or Small's Stonecrop is an endemic (that's a species found in only one place in the world like the Giant Tortoise, Thorny Devil Lizard, and the Platypus). Diamorpha becomes active in late fall and winter, blooms in late March, then dies. It has red succulent leaves that act to reflect light and hold water. It is found in shallow basins on rocky outcrops that contain seasonal pools. The plant is mainly found in Georgia though populations have also been noted in other Southeastern States.
Every year, this plant turns red then blooms in white flowers (and as of this writing is blooming now). Although only two inches tall, it colors Arabia Mountain with crimson.
Local Natural Wonders Near You
The best way to find strange and natural wonders near you is to search "natural wonders near [your city]" online.