Tag Archive: wildflower

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Southern Harebell

Southern Harebell © William Britten use with permission only

Southern Harebell (Campanula divaricata) inhabits dry, rocky slopes, trailside or roadside. The blooming period in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is from July to October. Unless you are carefully examining your surroundings, you may miss this delicate beauty. The plant is a foot or two tall, with tiny light blue blooms raining down from…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Mountain Mint

Mountain Mint © William Britten use with permission only

Loomis Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum loomisii) is distinctive due to the appearance of being dusted with white powder around the bloom and upper leaves. The name Pycnanthemum means “compact flower,” referring to the dense flowering heads common to the mints. This is a common roadside plant during the summer months. Please stop in and visit me…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bee Balm

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) © William Britten use with permission only

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) is a member of the mint family, and as the name implies, holds lots of attraction for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. There is also a purple bee-balm found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The examples above and below were found along the Clingman’s Dome Road, where this wildflower is…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Turks Cap Lily

Turk's Cap Lily © William Britten use with permission only

Turk’s Cap Lily (Lilium superbum) is  a large wildflower that grows to 3 to 8 feet tall. It blooms July to September, and loves the roadside at higher elevations. Look for it along the Clingman’s Dome Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Coneflower

Smoky Mountain Coneflower © William Britten use with permission only

Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata var. humilis) blooms from July to October. Look for it along the Clingman’s Dome Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a large plant growing up to 5 feet tall. The yellow coneflower is more often seen at higher elevations, while the orange variation is more at home at lower…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Halberd-leaved Violet

Halberd-leaved Violet

Halberd-leaved Violet (Viola hastata) is a very early bloomer in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, showing its yellow blossoms as early as late March. The name halberd actually refers to a medieval battle axe, which apparently is shaped like this delicate little flower’s leaves. Look for this yellow violet along the Greenbrier Road or…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Goats Beard

Goat's Beard © William Britten use with permission only

Goat’s Beard (Aruncus Dioicus) is a member of the rose family, and blooms during May to July in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can find these plants blooming along the Rich Mountain Road, climbing out of Cades Cove, and also along Newfound Gap Rd.   Please stop in and visit me to see…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Flame Azalea

Smoky Mountain Wild Azalea © William Britten use with permission only

It’s that time of year when the late-spring woods are lit up with various shades of orange, yellow and red of the Flame Azalea. The large wild azalea above was found along the Rich Mountain Road above Cades Cove, and the ones below were seen along the road between Big Creek and Cataloochee. Please stop…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bowmans Root

Bowman's Root (Porteranthus trifoliatus) © William Britten use with permission only

Bowman’s Root (Porteranthus trifoliatus) is a spring bloomer, preferring dry woods and roadsides. The most curious feature of Bowman’s Root are the five uneven and twisted petals of the flower. Supposedly, the crushed root of this plant induced vomiting. Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Pussytoes

Pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta) © William Britten use with permission only

The name Pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta) certainly conjures a soft, cute impression, and in real life, this wildflower is just that. Blooming in April and May, Pussytoes usually forms a clump of many plants. As the flower goes from bud to bloom, it’s almost hard to tell the difference, as it stays compact and tight the…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bluets

Bluets (Houstonia serpyllifolia)

Bluets (Houstonia serpyllifolia) are identified by the four blue petals surrounding a yellow spot. Common names for this wildflower include Thyme-leaved Bluet, Prostrate Bluet, Mountain Bluet, and Creeping Bluet. The plant is tiny, only 3 to 5 inches tall, but growing in a large group they can make a beautiful statement. The photo above was…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Pennywort

Pennywort (Obolaria viginica)

Pennywort (Obolaria virginica) is a diminutive wildflower that can easily be overlooked among the fallen leaves in the Smoky Mountains forests. There is a nice colony of them at the start of the Schoolhouse Gap Trail, just to the left, blooming in mid April. Look for groups of these tiny plants with their green, waxy…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Beaked Violet

Beaked Violet © William Britten use with permission only

Beaked Violet (Viola rostrata) is an April blooming wildflower in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. See the beak? It’s an exaggerated protrusion from the flower’s lower petal. There are many varieties of violets in the Smokies, but this one is unique because of the beak. It is also called Longspurred Violet. Like all violets,…

Mountain Laurel Time in the Smokies

Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains

It’s that beautiful time of year again when the Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) bloom along the trails and in the woods of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Mountain Laurel are similar to, and often mistaken for, Rhododendron. In the Smokies the Laurel bloom primarily during May, while the Rhododendron come along in June…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty © William Britten use with permission only

Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) is a quiet and reserved April wildflower of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Like so many of the early April bloomers, this one can be found along the Chestnut Top Trail. Look very low to the ground for this two-inch plant. You may find it growing in large groups on…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Foamflower

Foamflower © William Britten use with permission only

Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) is a knee-high woodland wildflower and a member of the same Saxifrage family as Bishops Cap. Both have delicate white blossoms on a tall leafless stalk. The leaves below the blossom stalk are reminiscent of maple leaves, and the entire plant is about a foot tall. In the Smoky Mountains look for Foamflower blooming…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Squirrel Corn

Squirrel Corn © William Britten use with permission only

Squirrel Corn (Dicentra canadensis) is a member of the same plant family as Dutchmens Breeches and Bleeding Heart.It’s an early bloomer that appears in early April. This spring (2010) a profusion of hundreds of Squirrel Corn plants could be found along the Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail in the Chimneys Picnic Area in the Great Smoky…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Wild Stonecrop

Wild Stonecrop © William Britten use with permission only

Wild Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum) is a member of the Sedum family. Mountain legend correlates thriving Stonecrop to the prosperity and health of a homestead. Identification is easy with the thick rubbery leaves and the black-tipped anthers. In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park look for Wild Stonecrop clinging to rocky outcrops along the Chestnut Top…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Crested Dwarf Iris

Crested Dwarf Iris © William Britten use with permission only

Continuing our theme of spring wildflowers of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, first up this week is the Crested Dwarf Iris (Iris cristata). This flower is an April bloomer, especially along the Chestnut Top Trail near Townsend. On the Bud Ogle Nature Trail there are some large colonies. The flower gets its name from…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Star Chickweed

Star Chickweed © William Britten use with permission only

Star Chickweed (Stellaria pubera) is a delicate beauty that blooms in April in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As seen in the image below, the anthers are dark globes that float above the petals, giving the flower a delicate, jewel-like appearance. Star Chickweed is easily spotted along both the Chestnut Top Trail and the…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bishops Cap

Bishop's Cap Wildflower © William Britten use with permission only

I love the way Bishop’s Cap (Mitella diphylla) adds a splash of accent to a wildflower scene, as in the picture below. It’s not usually the main attraction, but more like the seasonings part of a recipe. Bishop’s Cap blooms in April and can be found in profusion along the Cove Hardwoods Trail. The name…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Fire Pink

Fire Pink

Fire Pink (Silene viginica) is definitely not pink, but very bright red. The word pink refers to its membership in the pink family, with notches in each of the five flower petals. This distinctive wildflower blooms in April and can usually be found along the Chestnut Top Trail near Townsend in the Great Smoky Mountains…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Fringed Phacelia

Fringed Phacelia © William Britten use with permission only

Fringed Phacelia (Phacelia fimbriata) is the wildflower that covers the hillsides along the Newfound Gap Road like a late dusting of snow in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The blooms form a densely packed groundcover in April. The Fringed variety is one of four Phacelias found in the Smoky Mountains. Perhaps the most unique…

Wildflower Trails: Chestnut Top Trail

Chestnut Top Trail © William Britten use with permission only

Just a hundred yards north of the Townsend Wye is a parking lot, and across the road is the start of the Chestnut Top Trail. In spring this is one of the premier Smoky Mountains wildflowers hikes, with opportunities for photos every few feet! The trail cuts into a steep embankment, climbing steadily for the first…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Rue Anemone

Rue-Anemone © William Britten use with permission only

These delicate beauties were photographed along the Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail in the Chimneys Picnic Area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) blooms in April in the Smokies. It is a member of the Buttercup family, and is easily identified by the distinctive leaves. The photo below was found along…

Wildflower Trails: Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail

Cove Hardwoods Wildflower Trail © William Britten use with permission only

For ten months of the year the Cove Hardwoods Trail is a short unassuming excursion that is part of the Chimneys Picnic Area in the Smoky Mountains. But come April, this trail is transformed into a fairyland of wildflowers. You could hike this area every few days during wildflowers season and see something new each…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Squawroot

Squawroot (Conopholis americana)

Squawroot (Conopholis americana) is an odd little Smoky Mountains wildflower that looks mostly like a corncob. You have to get down to the ground and look very closely to see the tiny flowers. There is nothing green here, no leaves, for Squawroot is actually a parasite that feeds off the roots of oak trees. It is…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Pink Lady’s Slipper

Pink Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)

  Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) is a member of the orchid family that grows to 18 inches tall. It’s a fairly rare Smoky Mtn wildflower to find! The ladies above were spotted stepping out just off  Twin Creeks trail near the Bud Ogle Place on the Roaring Fork. The photo at the bottom was taken…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Painted Trillium

smoky-mountains-pictures-trillium

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum) is one of the most attractive, and most elusive of the Trilliums.  A rare sight, perhaps because it is at the southern edge of it’s range in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Painted Trillium favors cool northern forests. Identification is very easy, with the prominent maroon paint circling the inner…

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Wake Robin Trillium and Bishops Cap

Wake Robbn Trillium © William Britten use with permission only

April is prime wildflower time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so I will be devoting many posts to that springtime topic as the annual Wildflower Pilgrimage approaches later this month. As the name implies, the Wake Robin Trillium (Trillium erectum) is an early bloomer and heralder of spring. Another inhabitant of the moist…

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