Bloodroot blooming in the Smokies

Bloodroot blooming in the Smokies © William Britten use with permission only

This time of year in our Smoky Mountains we are all itching to say good-bye to winter and welcome springtime and the wildflower season. These are my candidates for the best early spring wildflowers that may be found in March after some warm days and a bit of rainfall. Follow the links below for more information. Click on any of the pictures to start a slide show.

First is Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) which gets its name from the reddish sap of the root which was used by settlers for dye. The picture above shows the delicate bloom of this wildflower. Look for Bloodroot near the Porters Creek trailhead or the Cove Hardwood Trail.

Below is a picture of Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana), which is fairly common and might be seen as early as late February.  Try the looking along the Chestnut Top trail.

Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana)

Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) © William Britten use with permission only

Another petite charmer of the bare March woodlands is Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba). This tiny white, pink, or lavender bloom can be found in early March when no other wildflowers are to be found. A sure bet to find it is the Cove Hardwoods Trail.

Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba)

Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) © William Britten use with permission only


Next up is Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens) which is actually a dwarf shrub. I have seen this near the top of the hill on the Chestnut Trop Trail, and it is also reported to be found along the Abrams Falls Trail.

Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens)

Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens) © William Britten use with permission only

The picture below is Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), which might be my favorite early spring wildflower.  It’s always a treat to find this one, or it’s cousin Squirrel Corn. The trick is to look for the distinctive shaped leaves and then poke around for the blooms.  The Cove Hardwood Trail is another sure bet for this one.

Dutchmans Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

Dutchmans Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) © William Britten use with permission only

Those are my picks for the Smoky Mountains best early spring wildflowers. As always, if you get a chance please stop in at the William Britten Gallery on Glades Rd in Gatlinburg. All of my Smoky Mountains pictures are on display there. 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.

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