This is the Blue Ridge Parkway wildflower report for the second half of June 2014. Early summer is a great time for blooms here in the Blue Ridge, and remember that your elevation can make a great deal of difference in what you find blooming along the roadside or down your favorite trails. If you think you’ve missed a favorite bloom in a particular spot, head up the mountain and you may find it still on display. 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 Yellow Goatsbeard, Bladder Campion, Spreading Dogbane, Red Clover, Multi-flora Rose, Balsam Ragwort, Bracken Fern, Coreopsis, Fleabane, Greybeard Tongue, Common Eldeerberry, Bluets, Rattlesnake Fern, Indian Cucumber Root, Columbine, Spotted Wintergreen, and Wild Stonecrop.
In North Carolina near the Linn Cove Viaduct and heading south, Mountain Laurels, Flame Azalea, and Catawba Rhododendron are blooming along the roadside and on the trails. Blackberries, Dandelion, Beardtongue, Firepink, Bluets, and Buttercup can also be seen blooming along the Parkway, and the Fraser Magnolias should be coming into bloom soon.
At Craggy Gardens, the rhododendrons have passed their blooming peak, but some individual plants may still have blooms. Also blooming in the Craggy Gardens area are Flame Azalea, Mountain Laurel, Mountain Ash, Bluets, Canada Mayflower, Violets, Yellow Buckeyes, Hawkweed, and Firepink.
In the lower elevations, closer to Asheville, we have reports of blooming Sundrops, Hairy Beardtongue, Bowman’s Root, Spiderwort, Firepink, Mountain Laurel, Rattlesnake Hawkweed, Goatsbeard, Blackberries, Daisy Fleabane, Phlox, and Jack in the Pulpit.
South of Asheville in the Mount Pisgah area, Rhododendrons, Mountain Laurels, Flame Azalea, Firepink, Goatsbeard, Bluets, Daylilies, Wild Hydrangea, Spiderwort, Violets, Hawkweed, Galax, Indian Pipe, Solomon’s Seal, Columbine, Squaroot, Leatherflower, and Sundrops are all blooming.
It is always a good idea to have an extra jacket and a few emergency supplies in the trunck of your car when visiting the mountains. Temperatures and weather conditions can change quickly.