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Wildflowers and Herbs along the Blue Ridge Parkway

wildflowers along the blue ridge parkway, spotted mandarin

Spotted Mandarin (Prosartes maculata, syn. Disporum maculatum)

Members and friends of the North Carolina Native Plant Society took a hike into the woods this weekend to check out the wildflowers doing their thing along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Besides the intriguing (and uncommon) spotted mandarin, we saw several species of trillium, both pink and yellow lady’s slipper orchids, shooting star, wood betony, and dwarf delphinium.

Some herbs along the path (not in bloom) were blue cohosh, black cohosh, bee balm, bloodroot, toothwort, pepperweed, stoneroot, squaw root, mayapple, and cucumber root.

Bluets—in huge clumps throughout the sunny spots—were so charming! At least five species of violets were blooming at the wood’s edges, and as the perfect green foil for all these beautiful blooms, no less than a dozen species of native ferns!

The complete list of blooms and plants we saw would take pages, but these are some of the most talked about in our group. It’s almost too much diversity to deal with—with so many questions and field guide consultations, it took us hours to go a mile!

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