Tag Archives: wildflower

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Southern Harebell

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Southern Harebell

Southern Harebell © William Britten use with permission only
Southern Harebell © William Britten use with permission only
Southern Harebell © William Britten use with permission only
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 thin, bending stems. Southern Harebell can be found along the Porters Creek Trail in the Greenbrier section of the Smokies.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Southern Harebell © William Britten use with permission only
Southern Harebell © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Mountain Mint

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Mountain Mint

Mountain Mint © William Britten use with permission only
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 to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bee Balm

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bee Balm

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

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) © William Britten use with permission only
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) © William Britten use with permission only
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) © William Britten use with permission only
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Turks Cap Lily

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Turks Cap Lily

Turk's Cap Lily © William Britten use with permission only
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 of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Coneflower

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Coneflower

Smoky Mountain Coneflower © William Britten use with permission only
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 elevations.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN

Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata var. humilis) © William Britten use with permission only
Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata var. humilis) © William Britten use with permission only
Coneflower © William Britten use with permission only
Coneflower © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Halberd-leaved Violet

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Halberd-leaved Violet

Halberd-leaved Violet
Halberd-leaved Violet © William Britten use with permission only

Halberd-leaved Violet © William Britten use with permission only
Halberd-leaved Violet © William Britten use with permission only

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 Porters Creek Trail.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Goats Beard

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Goats Beard

Goat's Beard © William Britten use with permission only
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.

Goat's Beard (Aruncus Dioicus)
Goat's Beard (Aruncus Dioicus) © William Britten use with permission only

 

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Flame Azalea

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Flame Azalea

Smoky Mountain Flame Azalea  © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountain Flame 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.

Smoky Mountain Wild Azalea  © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountain Wild Azalea © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Smoky Mountain Flame Azalea
Smoky Mountain Flame Azalea © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bowmans Root

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bowmans Root

Bowman's Root (Porteranthus trifoliatus) © William Britten use with permission only
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 the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

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

 

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Pussytoes

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Pussytoes

Pussytoes © William Britten use with permission only
Pussytoes © 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 whole time.

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

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bluets

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bluets

Bluets (Houstonia serpyllifolia)
Bluets (Houstonia serpyllifolia) © William Britten use with permission only

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 found along the Thomas Divide Trail in late-April.  The photos below were found near Clingmans Dome in Mid-May.

Smoky Mtns wildflowers
Smoky Mtns wildflowers © William Britten use with permission only

Bluets enjoy moist conditions, along streams especially. Look for them along Clingman’s Dome Road later than in the lower elevations.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Bluets along the trail
Bluets along the trail © William Britten use with permission only
Bluets (Houstonia serpyllifolia)
Bluets (Houstonia serpyllifolia) © William Britten use with permission only

 

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Pennywort

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Pennywort

Pennywort  © William Britten use with permission only
Pennywort © William Britten use with permission only

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 leaves and pale flowers. Pennywort is among those strange plants that get most of the nutrients without photosynthesis. In this case it is a fungus in the roots of the plant that digests decaying matter.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Pennywort (Obolaria virginica)
Pennywort (Obolaria virginica) © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Beaked Violet

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Beaked Violet

Beaked Violet  © William Britten use with permission only
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, this one likes moist woods, roadsides and trailsides. It is not common in the Smokies, but should be easy to find on the Porters Creek Trail or the Chestnut Top Trail in late March and early April. The photo below was taken along the Porters Creek Trail in the Greenbrier area of the Smoky Mountains.

Longspurred Violet (Viola rostrata)
Longspurred Violet (Viola rostrata) © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Mountain Laurel Time in the Smokies

Mountain Laurel Time in the Smokies

Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains  © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel bloom in the Smoky Mountains  © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel bloom in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only

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 and July.

One of the Featured Photographs at the William Britten Gallery is Path to Serenity, which shows a hillside of Mountain Laurel blooming along the trail to Spruce Flat Falls.

Mountain Laurel bloom in the Smoky Mountains  © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel bloom in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only

One of the best displays of Mountain Laurel can be found along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. At the top of the hill there is a parking area to the left. In early to mid-May you can see the thickets of laurel from your car, but to get the full effect, get out and walk in among all the blooms.

I was in that spot photographing, deep in my private reverie with my eyes in the camera viewfinder. Suddenly I heard some snorting and clomping, and looked up to see that a doe had joined me in the laurel thicket. She was unafraid, and stayed close by for 30 minutes or so, even when I moved my tripod from spot to spot.

Deer in  the Mountain Laurel © William Britten use with permission only
Deer in the Mountain Laurel © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Spring Beauty

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty  © William Britten use with permission only
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 the forest floor.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Spring Beauty  © William Britten use with permission only
Spring Beauty © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Foamflower

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Foamflower

Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) © 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 in April along the Chestnut Top Trail or the Cove Hardwoods Trail. There are also some exceptional stands along the Bud Ogle Nature Trail, where I took the photo at the bottom of the page.

Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) © William Britten use with permission only

The genus Tiarella translates into “small crown,” as in a tiara. The leaves of foamflower are high in tannin, accounting for its other common name, Coalwort. The plant was used to treat burns and mouthsores.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Squirrel Corn

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Squirrel Corn

Squirrel Corn © William Britten use with permission only
Squirrel Corn © William Britten use with permission only
Squirrel Corn © William Britten use with permission only
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 Mountains National Park.

The best way to find either Squirrel Corn or Dutchmens Breeches is to look for the distinctive leaves close to the ground.  Look in moist woodlands tucked in close to tree trunks or creek beds.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Squirrel Corn © William Britten use with permission only
Squirrel Corn © William Britten use with permission only

 

 

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Wild Stonecrop

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Wild Stonecrop

Wild Stonecrop  © William Britten use with permission only
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 Trail.

Wild Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum)
Wild Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum) © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Wild Stonecrop  © William Britten use with permission only
Wild Stonecrop © William Britten use with permission only

 

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Crested Dwarf Iris

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Crested Dwarf Iris

Crested Dwarf Iris (Iris cristata)
Crested Dwarf Iris (Iris cristata) © 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 the distinctive yellow crest that is meant to guide insects towards their pollination target. Compared to the common iris that you may have in your front garden, Crested Dwarf Iris is a truly tiny plant that may only be 4 inches tall.

 

Crested Dwarf Iris (Iris cristata)
Crested Dwarf Iris (Iris cristata) © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mtn Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Crested Dwarf Iris © William Britten use with permission only
Crested Dwarf Iris © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Star Chickweed

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Star Chickweed

Star Chickweed © William Britten use with permission only
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 Cove Hardwoods Trail.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Star Chickweed © William Britten use with permission only
Star Chickweed © William Britten use with permission only

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bishops Cap

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bishops Cap

Bishop's Cap Wildflower  © William Britten use with permission only
Bishop's Cap Wildflower © William Britten use with permission only
Bishop's Cap Wildflower  © William Britten use with permission only
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 Bishop’s Cap apparently derives from the shape of the seed.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Bishop's Cap and Trillium  © William Britten use with permission only
Bishop's Cap and Trillium © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Fire Pink

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Fire Pink

Fire Pink   © William Britten use with permission only
Fire Pink © William Britten use with permission only

Fire Pink   © William Britten use with permission only
Fire Pink © William Britten use with permission only

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 National Park.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Fringed Phacelia

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Fringed Phacelia

Fringed Phacelia  © William Britten use with permission only
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 characteristic of Fringed Phacelia is that the plant dies after blooming, leaving its seeds to sprout the following year. It’s an annual!

Fringed Phacelia can be viewed along the Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail, where it forms a thick understory to the trilliums and other larger wildflowers. Both the photograph above and the one below were taken a few days ago on the Cove Hardwood Trail in the Chimneys Picnic Area.

Phacelia on Porters Creek Trail
Phacelia on Porters Creek Trail © William Britten use with permission only

There is also an especially attractive cove of Phacelia along the upper portions of the Porters Creek Trail as seen in the photo above.

If you’re on a Smoky Mountains getaway, please stop in for a visit at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN, where my complete collection of Smoky Mountains photographs are on display.

Fringed Phacelia  © William Britten use with permission only
Fringed Phacelia © William Britten use with permission only
Wildflower Trails: Chestnut Top Trail

Wildflower Trails: Chestnut Top Trail

Chestnut Top Trail © William Britten use with permission only
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 half-mile or so. It is this part of the hike that is packed with a huge assortment of flowers. Hike the trail often during late March and April, and you will see plenty of Trilliums. Fire Pink, Star Chickweed, Trailing Arbutus, Crested Dwarf Iris, Squawroot, Spring Beauty, Bishops Cap, Foamflower, Stonecrop, and many more. How’s that for name-dropping?

Another nice thing about Chestnut Top Trail is that the steep bank puts many of the blooms almost at eye level on the upper side of the hill, which sets them up nicely for photos.

As you climb the steep hill, the Little River runs north below you, and eventually you can spot the fields of Tuckaleechee Cove.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of wildflowers and landscape photos of the Smoky Mountains at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.  And if you are a facebook user, please “Like” either of the two pages shown on the panel to the right. On the Wildflowers Community page we share photos, bloom locations, and other tips.

Crested Dwarf Iris © William Britten use with permission only
Crested Dwarf Iris © William Britten use with permission only

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Rue Anemone

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Rue Anemone

Rue-Anemone © William Britten use with permission only
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 the Porters Creek Trail in late March.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Rue Anenome (Thalictrum thalictroides)
Rue Anenome (Thalictrum thalictroides) © William Britten use with permission only
Wildflower Trails: Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail

Wildflower Trails: Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail

Cove Hardwoods Wildflowers Trail  © William Britten use with permission only
Cove Hardwoods Wildflowers 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 time. It’s an absolute bonanza for photos. While there are other top wildflower trails in the Smoky Mountains, such as Porters Creek in the Greenbrier or Chestnut Top Trail near Townsend, nothing can top Cove Hardwoods for sheer density of wildflowers in such a small area. The display is breathtaking.

Bunches of Trilliums on the Cove Hardwoods Trail © William Britten use with permission only
Bunches of Trilliums on the Cove Hardwoods Trail © William Britten use with permission only

In the photos above not only is there a densely packed hillside of White Trillium, there is also a ground-cover of Fringed Phacelia beneath them! What a bargain it is to spend some time walking among this display on a gentle spring day. Below is a similar super-sized group of Yellow Trillium found nearby.

Yellow Trillium on the Cove Hardwoods Trail © William Britten use with permission only
Yellow Trillium on the Cove Hardwoods Trail © William Britten use with permission only

On a hike a few days ago I found the Trillium above, the Fringed Phacelia, hundreds of perfect Squirrel Corn specimens, Bishops Cap, Spring Beauty, Bleeding Heart, Rue Anemone, Toothwort … too many to recall.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains landscape photos at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN. If you are a Facebook user, you can get my daily Smoky Mountains news and photos by becoming a fan of the William Britten Photography Facebook Page.

Fringed Phacelia carpets the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
Fringed Phacelia carpets the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Squawroot

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Squawroot

Squawroot (Conopholis americana)
Squawroot (Conopholis americana) © William Britten use with permission only

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 a member of the Broomrape family, which are all parasitic. Squawroot is enjoyed by bears, and also was gathered as food by the Cherokees, giving this unusual wildflower its name.

The photo above was taken along the Kanati Fork Trail in late April, where there were dozens of Squawroot popping out of the ground. The specimen below was found on the Chestnut Top Trail, which is one of the premier wildflower trails in April.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

 

Smoky Mountains Wildflower: Squawroot (Conopholis americana)
Smoky Mountains Wildflower: Squawroot (Conopholis americana) © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Pink Lady’s Slipper

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Pink Lady’s Slipper

 

Pink Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)
Pink Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) © William Britten use with permission only

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 along the Porters Creek Trail in the Greenbrier area of the Smokies.

Pink Lady’s Slipper is nearly impossible to propagate or transplant. The dry acidic woods are the most likely place to find them growing. They bloom in late April at the lower elevations.

 

Pink Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)
Pink Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium acaule) © William Britten use with permission only

The genus name Cypripedium is derived from the Greek, meaning “Venus’ shoe.”

After the wildflower hunt, please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mtn Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN. I’m in Morning Mist Village on Glades Rd along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail.

Smoky Mtn wildflowers
Smoky Mtn wildflowers © William Britten use with permission only

 

 

 

 

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Painted Trillium

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Painted Trillium

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum)
Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum) © William Britten use with permission only

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 bloom. This Smoky Mtn wildflower favors acidic soils, so look for it in the shade of acid-loving plants such as pines and rhododendrons.  The example above was found growing on top of a large boulder beside the Porters Creek Trail in the Greenbrier section of the Smokies.  The photo below was taken along the Thomas Divide trail, where the bloom occurs much later at the higher elevation.

 

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum)
Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum) © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mtn Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

 

Smoky Mtn wildflower
Smoky Mtn wildflower © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Wake Robin Trillium and Bishops Cap

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Wake Robin Trillium and Bishops Cap

Wake Robin Trillium © William Britten use with permission only
Wake Robin 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 woods, you might look for Wake Robin along the Greenbrier Road or Roaring Fork. The main features of the Wake Robin are the single flower rising erect over three large leaves.

Wake Robin Trillium with Bishops Cap © William Britten use with permission only
Wake Robin Trillium with Bishops Cap © William Britten use with permission only

The bloom of the Wake Robin Trillium is typically maroon in color, but it may also be cream or white, as below.  In both the picture above and the one below, the delicate Bishops Cap (Mitella diphylla) is rising on a frail stalk nearby.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Wake Robin Trillium with Bishops Cap © William Britten use with permission only
Wake Robin Trillium with Bishops Cap © William Britten use with permission only

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