Smokey Mountain Flora
I read it blooms in June, but this specimen was a bit early (photographed 05/22/2011). Easy to overlook as it is a small plant, about a half-foot high and the flower is less than an inch wide. Although part of the Iris family, the plant looks like grass, and the blossoms tend to close up later in the day -- so I've likely walked right past many of them before I took this photograph.
Short plant I found from July into the Fall along the edge of woods and grass. Seems to need some shade and found it more frequently along path by the creek (although not on waters edge.) Grows right through teh grass. Big area of then was hidden under some Japanese Honeysuckles, and those were blooming well into October.
(aka common blue violet)
Actually more of a purple than a blue -- the leaves and flowers are edible and have lots of vitamins A and C, and are high in antioxidants. The Cherokee used them to treat headaches, sore throat and congestion.
Photographed early in the Spring, seen here with the flower stem having grown straight through one of last Fall's leaves.
Also called Myrtle, Creeping Myrtle or simply Vinca, this is an evergreen ground cover. Usually likes some shade and blooms for a long time.
Periwinkle is native to Europe and has a long, superstitious history there -- once called Sorcerer's Violet by the French for it's use in magic. Among other claims is that it could be used to keep away demons, as well as poisons and snakes and beasts. In another book, "Perwynke when it is beate unto pouder with worms of ye earth wrapped about it and with an herbe called houslyke, it induceth love between man and wyfe if it bee used in their meales . . ." (I think I'll leave that for someone else to verify.)
Anyway, I spied a patch of these growing atop a high bank over the Nolichucky River. I'd peddled my bicycle out to photograph the Redbud Trees and these short, lush beauties caught my eye.
(aka Quaker Ladies)
Delicate but bold-colored flowers. Like tufts of grass with little faces.
Captured these while starting uphill from Deep Gap, making my way up Unaka Mountain in May.
Tiny, early bloomer -- I spotted this little blue jewel blooming in the middle of the Appalachian Trail on March 1, 2011 about a quarter mile south of Deep Gap (by Unaka Mountain.)
This was a European import, not native to teh Americas. You can spot it's diminutive bloom anytime from early March straight through to August.