DYK it’s National Wildflower Week? Luckily for us Ashevillians, we have access to hundreds of miles worth of trails and 100+ wildflower species, making the possibilities for floral discovery feel nearly endless.
How do we know? We spent the weekend out at Daniel Ridge Loop Trail in Pisgah National Forest (where the wildflowers are presently coating the trails). We also visited the NC Arboretum’s trail system with Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide in tow, identifying the local wildflowers that are sprouting to life at this very moment.
Here’s what we saw, and what you might discover on your hikes as well:
Dwarf-crested Iris (Iris cristata)
⏰ April-May | This intricate flower is named after Iris, the goddess of the rainbow in Greek mythology.
Mountain Bellwort (Uvularia sessilifolia)
⏰ April-May | Young leaves of this flowering plant can be eaten as cooked greens.
Red trillium (Trillium erectum)
⏰ Late April – early June | This distinct flower (which has 38 species) is named for its 3 petal and 3 leaf structure. It also blooms in shades of white, rose-pink + green.
Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia)
⏰ April-June | This plant gets its common name from the tiny flowers + fine texture of the stamens that resemble foam.
Showy Orchis (Orchia spectabilis)
⏰ April-May | These woodland jewels are dainty, generally growing no higher than 12 inches.
Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)
⏰ April-June | In addition to being edible, trout lilies have a symbiotic relationship with ants known as myrmecochory.
Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum)
⏰ May-June | This stunning flower gets its name because of how its flower buds look like candle flames. It also has a medium flammability rating.
Golden Groundsel/Ragwort (Packera aurea)
⏰ April-May | The Golden Groundsel was commonly used by Native Americans to treat an assortment of reproductive system pains.
Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia)
⏰ March-May | The petals of these beauties are edible + chock full of Vitamin C.
Squawroot (Conopholis americana)
⏰ April-June | This strange, scaly-looking plant, aka cancer root or bear cone, has a history of being used as a medical astringent. It produces no chlorophyll of its own + gathers the bulk of its nutrients from the roots of oak trees.
Robin’s Plantain (Erigeron pulchellus)
⏰ May-June | Mammals such as rabbits + deer love to munch on this flower’s foliage.
Creeping Bluet (Houstonia serpyllifolia)
⏰ May-June | These beauties are known to sometimes grow like a beautiful blanket across a field.
Interested in trying this yourself? While you can find wildflowers anywhere, here’s a list of the top spring wildflower hikes in the area. For help identifying, we recommend the Newcomb’s guide mentioned above, the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers + if you’re on a budget, this free Blooms on the Parkway Guide for a near-comprehensive list of local wildflowers.
Check out The Compleat Naturalist in Biltmore Village to find the latest and classic wildflower guides. Firestorm Books sells a simple 8-page photo reference guide, and there’s also the Blue Ridge Parkway Bloom Calendar, which lists the names + bloom times of flowers commonly found near the Parkway.