The wildflowers this Spring have been amazing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia and North Carolina. There are a number of State parks and trails where a variety of different Trilliums and other wildflowers easily can be seen.
Trillium can be difficult to spot as some of the blooms face downward. It’s written that it takes six years for a Trillium to flower---no wonder that is a protected wildflower in Georgia! These members of the Lily family all have the characteristic flowers with three petals, three sepals, and three leaves. Trillium varieties come in many colors from white, pink, red, variegated, yellow, and reddish-brown. Shown here are white to pink Catesby’s Trillium, Red and Yellow Trillium, and Sweet Betsy with its variegated leaves.
Another member of the Lily Family found in rich, moist woods is the Yellow Trout Lily with its curved petals (tepals) and long yellow or red anthers. The mottled leaves, 6 to 8 inches long, suggest the appearance of speckled trout in mountain streams. One rare orchid that was photographed last year at Smithgall Woods near Helen, GA is the Pink Lady’s Slipper. Please take care if you spot any of these uniquely shaped orchids, and never try to dig up or pick them.
Two more wildflowers that grow in groupings making them easy to spot are the pink-to-purple Phlox and the May Apple with its large umbrella-like leaves up to 15 inches across. Its blooming plants have a forked stem with one leaf on each branch and a nodding white flower arising in the notch between the stems. The flowers are hard to spot at first as they are usually covered by the large leaves. Phlox often creates patches of color on wooded hillsides and in moist woods.
Wherever you go, look up, look down, and all around. You’ll be surprised at the colors, shapes, and numbers of wildflowers blooming now. Of course, the azalea bushes and dogwoods are everywhere, too. Look for the bright orange Flame Azalea in the woods. Enjoy these early blooming flowers while you can. Before long, the hot, summer months will be here and you’ll be longing for those strolls and hikes in the cool, moist woods of Spring. It’s a little early for wildflowers in the higher altitudes of Colorado, but if you are planning a trip this Summer, see Rocky Mountain Wildflowers Field Guide on Amazon and at www.highcountryartworks.com. This handy pocket-sized guide groups the wildflowers by color for ease in identifying them.