Tag Archive: wildflower

Wildflower Photography: Coneflower Dreamscape

Coneflower Dreamscape © William Britten use with permission only

The photograph above is the Green Headed, or Cutleaf Coneflower.  It blooms all along the roadside in the middle of summer up near Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park . Here’s a fun photo tip for taking a picture like the one above. One of my favorite techniques is to take the photo…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Trailing Arbutus

Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens)

Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens) is one of the earliest wildflowers to bloom in the Smoky Mountains. All of the photos on this page were found near the top of the Chestnut Top Trail, starting to bloom in mid-March. The blossom tends from white to pale pink. There are also good displays of Trailing Arbutus along…

Wildflower Photography Tips

Photographing wildflowers

Updated 2012: This blog post was originally written two years ago, in spring of 2010. The information here is still very valid and useful, but in the past couple of years I’ve adopted a more “minimalist” approach to photography, and especially wildflower photos. The main difference is that I’m now using a very lightweight camera,…

Sunflowers of Cades Cove

Woodland Sunflower © William Britten use with permission only

The sunflowers family is a big one, with 20 species known to inhabit Tennessee, and 7 of those found within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On a tour of the Cades Cove Loop Road, you will see many of these. Early one morning recently, I made the loop, stopping constantly to investigate yet another…

Wildflower Wallpaper!

Wildflower Wallpaper

To celebrate summer in the Smokies, for all my blog, facebook, and twitter followers I’m offering another free image in a series of Smoky Mountains photos that can be used as a desktop wallpaper or as a screensaver.  The image, and all other wallpapers, can be downloaded from http://williambritten.com/wallpaper/ Just click on the file name wildflower-screensaver2.jpg,…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: St. Johnswort

Mountain St. Johnswort © William Britten use with permission only

Hypericum is another family of wildflowers with lots of species. Over 25 can be identified in Tennessee and many of these can be found in the Smoky Mountains, giving plenty of opportunities for misidentification.  Therefore, the two species in the photos here are my best effort to identify! St. Johns Wort is famous as an…

Wordless Wednesday: Ladybug, coneflower and bee balm

Ladybug and coneflower © William Britten use with permission only

Free Smoky Mountains Wallpaper: Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel Wallpaper

Celebrating Mountain Laurel time, a special Smoky Mountains event that happens every May, I’m offering this free computer wallpaper or screensaver image. It’s a close-up of a bloom with some extra textures blended in. This photo, and all other Smoky Mountains wallpaper, can be downloaded from http://williambritten.com/wallpaper/ Just click on the file name “mountain-laurel-wall.jpg” and then…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Vasey’s Trillium

Vasey's Trillium (Trillium vaseyi)

Vasey’s Trillium (Trillium vaseyi) is the largest and the last blooming of the Smoky Mountains trilliums. It is found only in the Southern Appalachians and is infrequently found in the Smokies. The photos on this page were taken on the Kanati Fork Trail in late April. George Vasey was a Botanist who lived from 1822-1893,…

Changes in Altitude

Moody Morning on Newfound Gap

Happy Friday!  It’s been a while since we had a Philosophical Friday.  Today’s thoughts are about living in an area like Gatlinburg that features great changes in altitude. Downtown Gatlinburg is about 1500 feet above sea level, yet only about 20 miles away, on the top of Clingman’s Dome, the altitude has climbed to 6,643 feet!…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Dwarf Ginseng

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius)

Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius) is a tiny plant. The photos on this page make it seem larger than it is. In reality it is something like a white gumdrop lying on the forest floor! The globe-like blossom at the end of a single stem is known as an umbel.  This variety of Ginseng has no…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Columbine

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is a delicate and beautiful presence all along Little River Rd in the Smoky Mountains during April. Look opposite of the river, along the rock walls that border the road. Their pale orange and yellow colors actually blend into the surroundings as you drive by, but if you stop at almost any…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia)

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia) is the largest, rarest, last to bloom, and probably the most stunning of the Smoky Mountains Dicentras. The other two in this family are Dutchman’s Breeches and Squirrel Corn. The word “dicentra” in Greek means “two-spurred,” and describes the unique shape of the blossoms. The photos on this page were all…

Wordless Wednesday: Beautiful Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia)

Porters Creek Trail Wildflower Report

Painted Trillium

Porters Creek Trail in the Greenbrier area of the Smoky Mountains is in peak bloom for spring wildflowers right now. The upper portion of the trail, from the long footbridge over the creek on up to Fern Falls, has a stunning ground cover of Fringed Phacelia. I counted over 20 species of wildflowers along Porters…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Trout Lily

Smoky-Mountains-Pictures-Trout-Lily

Trout Lily (Erythronium umbilicatum) is an early spring bloomer that can be found before the trees leaf out in the lower elevations of the Smoky Mountains.  However, I have seen it blooming much later near the 6000 foot level along the Clingman’s Dome Road. Trout Lily often forms large colonies by way of their root…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Sweet White Trillium

White Erect Trillium (Trillium erectum forma albiflorum)

Sweet White Trillium (Trillium simile) is the white form of Wakerobin Trillium, and is also called White Wakerobin. In the lower elevations of the Smoky Mountains this large trillium usually blooms in late March or early April. Sweet White Trillium can be identified by its dark purple center surrounded by yellow stamens. Stands of  Trillium simile…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bloodroot

Bloodroot

The calendar has turned towards warmth and renewal, the Smoky Mountains trails are shaking off their winter drowse, and once again we are headed towards the great spring wildflower pilgrimage. This is an exciting time of year when the trails seem to change on a daily basis. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is a delicate, subtle beauty…

Chestnut Top Trail Wildflower Update

Hepatica on the Chestnut Top Trail

The wildflower season is just getting started. As of Monday, March 14th, here’s what’s happening on the Chestnut Top Trail, one of the best wildflower trails in the Smoky Mountains. There’s an army of Bloodroot ready to unfurl their flags. These should be in full display by the weekend. The photo above shows the only…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Hepatica

Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) Smoky Mountains wildflower

Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) is one of the earliest Smoky Mountains wildflowers. The pictures above and below were taken on March 8th along the Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail. On that day Hepatica was the only one of the wildflowers to be seen on the trail! Hepatica is a member of the buttercup family and comes in…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: False Foxglove

Foxglove © William Britten use with permission only

False Foxglove (Aureolaria laevigata) is an early autumn wildflower that blooms in September. It seems to be especially attractive to bumble bees, and on early morning walks there is always a loud buzzing as I pass by the cheerful bright yellow foxgloves. The bumble bees will stuff themselves way down inside the blossom, like the…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: the Asters of Autumn

Heartleaf Aster © William Britten use with permission only

In Greek mythology, the goddess Astraea wept as she ascended into the heavens to become the constellation Virgo. Where her tears touched the Earth, Asters sprouted. Wildflowers of the Aster family brighten up the landscape in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the autumn season. You can see them everywhere, along roadsides and trails….

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Sneezeweed

Sneezeweed © William Britten use with permission only

Sneezeweed, or Bitterweed (Helenium amarum) is a common and pretty roadside summer wildflower. If cows eat this plant, their milk will taste bitter, giving the plant one of it’s common names. From the name Sneezeweed, you might assume a summer allergy problem. The name actually comes from Native Americans practice of using the dried flower…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Pink Turtlehead

Pink turtlehead (Chelone lyonii) © William Britten use with permission only

Pink turtlehead (Chelone lyonii) favors wet areas like seeps and stream banks. The image above was taken along the Clingman’s Dome Road in the Great Smoky Mountains where water was draining from the steep bank above it. The botanical name Chelone derives from the Greek word for turtle. If you examine the bloom closely, it…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: False Dragonhead

False Dragonhead © William Britten use with permission only

False Dragonhead (Physostegia viginiana) is also called the Obedient Plant. Notice the way the flower buds line up perfectly in a column. If you twist the bloom, it will stay put, being obedient. For this reason, and because they are long-lasting, the plant is often cultivated for cut flower arrangements. False Dragonhead blooms from July-October,…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Flowering Spurge

Flowering Spurge © William Britten use with permission only

Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata) is a large, bushy plant with many small flowers. It favors fields, roadsides, and open woods.  The picture above was taken along the Cades Cove Loop Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The image picture was in the Greenbrier section along Porters Creek Trail. Look for Flowering Spurge in…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Pale Jewelweed

Pale Jewelweed © William Britten use with permission only

We’ll spend this week catching up on our review of the summer wildflowers found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pale Jewelweed (Impatiens pallida) is also known as Pale Touch-Me-Not.  This is a large plant, up to six feet, favoring moist, shady wooded areas. The name Jewelweed refers to its habit of accumulating water…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Smooth Creeping Bush Clover

Smooth Creeping Bush Clover © William Britten use with permission only

Smooth Creeping Bush Clover (Lespedeza repens) is a trailing, ground-hugging, member of the pea family that adds a beautiful accent to the dry woods of summer. The pictures here were taken along Porters Creek Trail in the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Please stop in and visit me to see the…

Smoky Mountain Butterflies

Butterfly and Mountain Mint © William Britten use with permission only

If you drive into some of the less traveled areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, such as Greenbrier or Tremont, eventually the road turns to gravel, and in summer you will start to see large quantities of butterflies. So many that sometimes it’s hard to keep from running them over. The swallowtail above…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Great Blue Lobelia

Great Blue Lobelia © William Britten use with permission only

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) is a tall, single-stalk summer wildflower, blooming during late-summer in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It favors moist streambanks and roadsides. The pictures here were taken along the Greenbrier Road. The Latin name siphilitica refers to the use of this plant as a treatment for syphilis. Please stop in…

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