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Springtime Flora of The Southern Appalachian Mountains

It is springtime here in Sapphire Valley and the forests are waking up with fresh new blooms and plants, some you may be familiar with and some you may not.

Here at Sapphire Valley Real Estate we love the outdoors and seeing these new arrivals means season is finally here. Here are some of plants and blooms you might see this time of year in your yard or on a hike in our area.

Springtime Flora of The Southern Appalachian Mountains

Painted Trillium: (Painted Lady, Painted Wood Lily) is a perennial herb, This is one of the most attractive woodland Trilliums. It is easily recognized by the splash of pink in the center of the white flower.

Poison Ivy: Watch out for this one! Upright, climbing, or trailing shrub that bears small yellowish-white flower clusters; old stems, covered with fibrous roots, look hairy. POISONOUS PARTS: All parts, in all seasons if plant sap contacted. Severe skin irritation upon contact. Symptoms include severe skin redness, itching, swelling, and blisters following direct or indirect contact.

Bashful Wakerobin: This beautiful pink trillium of the southeastern Piedmont and the adjacent Appalachian slopes may be confused with Large-flowered Trillium (T. grandiflorum), which has white flowers that turn pink with age. The flowers of Catesbys Trillium, however, face downward, and the sepals are narrower and more sickle-shaped than those of Large-flowered Trillium, which has upright flowers. The species name honors Mark Catesby (1679-1749), an English naturalist.

Woodland Stonecrop: The creeping stems of this rock-loving perennial usually send up a single flowering branch, 4-8 in. high, and several shorter, leafier, non-flowering branches. Woodland Stonecrop is a member of the sedum family (family Crassulaceae), which includes succulent herbs or small shrubs, commonly with star-like flowers in branched clusters.

Flame Azalea: This beautiful southern Azalea forms striking displays on some of the grassy balds of the southern Appalachians. A wide variation of color forms occurs, from all shades of yellow to orange-yellow and scarlet. The flowers appear before or with the new leaves.

Jack-In-The-Pulpit: One to two large, glossy leaves, divided into three leaflets, rise on their own stems 1-3 ft. The intriguing blossom of this woodland perennial occurs on a separate stalk at the same height as the leaves. Although it causes a strong burning reaction and has a strong peppery taste if eaten raw, the underground tuber can be eaten if dried or cooked, as cooking eliminates these unpleasant properties.

Mountain Laurel: Mountain Laurel is one of the most beautiful native flowering shrubs and is well displayed as an ornamental in many parks. The stamens of the flowers have an odd, springlike mechanism which spreads pollen when tripped by a bee. The wood has been used for tool handles and turnery, and the burls, or hard knotlike growths, for briar tobacco pipes.

Wild Ramp: In late April, before this species comes into flower, the people of the Great Smoky Mountains gather the plants for their annual Ramp Festival. The foliage and bulbs can be used in salads and soups. Native Americans treated stings with juice from the crushed bulbs.


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