This is the Blue Ridge Parkway Wildflower Report for early June 2014. After a late start to spring after a harsh winter, it finally feels like the season has arrived on the Parkway. Visitation has increased and the campgrounds and season visitor centers have reopened. The flowers are popping and the highest elevations have leafed out at last. Many areas of the Parkway are in full bloom, with lots of opportunities to see a wide variety of plants along the road’s full length.
In Virginia at the northern end of the Parkway, we have reports of blooming Wild Geranium, Spiderwort, Fleabane, Rattlesnake Week, Yellow Lady Slipper, Dogwood, Wild Azalea, Pinxter Flower, Sassafras, Trillium, Star Chickweed, Bellwort, Mayapple, Eastern Solomon’s Plume, False Solomon’s Seal, Maidenhair Fern, Rattlesnake Fern, and Black Cherry.
In the low- and mid-elevation ranges, Rhododendrons, Mountain Laurel, and Pinxter are all blooming with some very visible and showy displays.
In the Roanoke area south towards Rocky Knob, Flame Azalea is in bloom, along with Pinxter.
In North Carolina, between Crabtree Falls and Mount Mitchell, there are quite a few Catawba Rhododendrons blooming along the side of the Parkway. Mayapples are also in bloom.
The high elevation area of Craggy Gardens has Bluets, Rue Anemones, Chickweed, Foamflowers, and Violets all blooming. The rhododendrons are not blooming at Craggy Gardens quite yet, but many of the plants are loaded with buds and should be opening soon.
Catawba Rhododendrons with their beautiful purple blooms and Mountain Laurel with delicate white-pink blooms are out at the mid elevations as you drive from Asheville towards Craggy Gardens.
In the Asheville area up to 3,000 feet, we are seeing blooms of Flame Azalea, Bluets, Smooth Solomon’s Seal, Firepink, Spiderwort, Nettle Parsnip, Pussytoes, Squaw Root, Violets, Yellow Stargrass, Wild Geranium, Mayapple, Golden Ragwort, Daisy Fleabane, Ladyslippers, and Buttercups.
It is always a good idea to have an extra jacket and a few emergency supplies in teh trunck of your cae when visiting the mountains. Temperatures and weather conditions can change quickly.