Eastern Sweetshrub – Calycanthus floridus – is, as the name implies, a woody shrub with a sweet-smelling late-spring blossom. The USDA Plants Database lists the plant in Missouri, Louisiana, and all states east of the Mississippi River except Indiana, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The one above was photographed along the Big Frog Trail in Polk County, TN on May 9, 2009.
There are two species of Solomon’s Seal in the Tennessee/Georgia/North Carolina area, Smooth Solomon’s Seal - Polygonatum biflorum – and Hairy Solomon’s Seal – Polygonatum pubescens. This is, I believe, Smooth Solomon’s Seal. I’m pretty sure that I checked the underside of the leaves for the tell-tale hair along the veins that would have identified this as Hairy Solomon’s Seal. The above photo is from along the Big Frog Trail in Polk County, TN on May 9.
Some flower common names are really obvious. ‘Yellow Star Grass’ is one of those, as you can see from this photo. The leaves are grass-like, the flower is star-shaped, and the blossom is certainly yellow. I find them to be delightful. There were many of these along the Big Frog Trail during our May 8th-9th walk. If you only took a quick glance you could have confused them with the dwarf cinquefoil, the other common small yellow flower along the the trail. Yellow star grass – Hypoxis hirsuta – is a demure member of the Amaryllis family, along with more showy species such as the spider lily and Easter lily.
Visit the USWildflowers.com Photo Album Page for more nature photographs.
Catesby’s Trillium – Trillium catesbaei – also goes by the name of Rose Trillium and Bashful Wakerobin. The “wakerobin” nomiker is applied to several of the trilliums that have their flowers growing on a pedicel (flower stem,) either held above the three leaflets from which the trillium name is derived, or nodding below them.
Once Dave and I got camp set up on the site at the junction of Big Frog and Rough Creek Trails, I used the remaining daylight to see what wildflowers I might find beyond those we saw on the way in. I was pretty excited to find four pink ladyslippers – Cypripedium acaule – right around the next bend in the trail. I addition to these four, there was a colony of many on the hilltop above our campsite, as we found out the next day.
Pink ladyslipper is one of many beautiful members of the orchid family.
I mentioned in the previous post that I first photographed maple-leaf viburnum along the Big Frog Trail in Polk County, TN several years ago. That was also the case with Indian cucumber root and, being a winter hiker, that was the only place I’d identified that plant. My prior photograph of the flower of this plant was, well, unsatisfactory, and I wanted to replace it. I told my wife before Dave and I left that if I got no other photos this trip, finding a blooming Indian cucumber root would make the trip a success. It was a close call – more on that later - but the Lord blessed me with the last-minute find above.
Today my buddy Dave and I are headed up to Big Frog Mountain for an overnight backpacking and spring wildflower trip. It was along the Big Frog Trail several years ago that I first photographed and subsequently identified maple-leaf viburnum – Viburnum acerifolium. That trip was when I started my off-and-on hobby of photographing and identifying wildflowers. My recent “discovery” of The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain reignited my enjoyment of this pastime, so I think it’s appropriate that today’s photo be of a plant I photographed on my most recent wildflower trip down to the pocket, a plant I also photographed on my first ”wildflower trip.” Continue reading
I’m calling an official close to the spring wildflower season at The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain, from the USWildflowers.com perspective. While there are still certainly many wildflowers blooming, the image of the Jack in the Pulpit is symbolic of the status of the spring wildflowers. It is moving into the summer season – no remaining trillium blossoms, only a rare scattering of geranium and phacelia, and even the Canada violets are almost entirely gone. The wild hydrangea blossom buds are starting to form, and the flying gnats are becoming a problem.
While I will still make occasional treks down to The Pocket, future reports will be intermittent (maybe until next spring!) and I hope to bring reports from wildflower expeditions into other areas of the region starting, Lord willing, with a report from Big Frog Mountain next week.