This is the Blue Ridge Parkway wildflower report for the first week of June 2008. Catawba Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel are in bloom throughout the northern end of the Parkway in Virginia from Rock Fish Gap down through the James River area. As you are climbing over Apple Orchard Mountain heading south of there through the Peaks of Otter, the rosy display around milepost 80 is in great bloom right now. Pinkster and Flame Azalea are still showing but are on the decline.
Further south but still in Virginia, look for Flame Azalea, Tulip Tree, Mountain Laurel, Catawba Rhododendron, American Elder, and Sourwood on display from north of the Blue Ridge Music Center down past the state line.
Mountain Laurel and many of these already mentioned species are also in bloom in NC around the Museum of North Carolina Minerals near Linville Falls, especially at elevations at about 3,000 feet and higher. Heading from the Minerals Museum toward Crab Tree Meadows similar reports are coming in. But if you get out along the roadside or hike some of the road trails, you may catch Bluet, Pink Lady’ Slipper, Solomon’s-Plume, and Cinnamon Fern as well.
Finally, south of Asheville, in the high elevations it is much of the same including Mountain Laurel and Catawba Rhododendron. Look closely, however, for Fly Poison, Columbine, and Canada Mayflower around milepost 408; for Firepink and Soul Flower around milepost 447; for Spiderwort, Sundrops, Bluets, and Beardtongue from Milepost 443 to the south end of the Parkway.
There’s a lot to look at as you meander down this scenic mountain road. Above all, make it a safe visit. As we often tell visitors, enjoy the view, but watch the road.
Weekly updates at 828-298-0398 will keep you informed of what’s being reported throughout the Parkway.
Have a safe parkway visit! Enjoy the view, but watch the road.