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Great Smoky Mountain /Wild Flower Trail

2010年04月19日 08:31

Great Smoky Mountain の花探しを適確にするために

Porters Creek Trail

Spring has finally sprung and the wildflowers are beginning to pop up. Early in the spring, location, temperature, and elevation have a lot to do with what wildflowers you will see on your hikes. Location depends on soil fertility and moisture, shade/canopy, water, temperature, and aspect (direction the slope is facing). Temperature depends on the weather, abnormally cool or warm weather may delay, hasten, lengthen or shorten the blooming time of a certain plant. Higher elevations delay the bloom, where lower elevations bring on an earlier bloom. If you miss a certain plant blooming at the lower elevations you will normally have a chance to catch it in bloom a couple of weeks later at the higher elevations.

There are several favorite areas for spring wildflower hikes; this of course all depends on the characteristics described above. Even though there is normally a light bloom in late March, the real bloom generally begins in earnest around the second week of April. That time is right now!

Where do you start? In the lower elevations, moist hardwood cove areas are generally the first areas to bloom. The Greenbrier area is one area in particular that is very popular, and specifically along Porters Creek Trail. Porters Creek Trail is a moderately strenuous hike, so almost everyone can enjoy it. On the Porters Creek Trail you can begin seeing large quantities of wildflowers right at the trailhead. Before you even leave the parking lot you can generally see a large clump of Bloodroot along the edges of the parking lot. As you begin walking up the trail you will see large quantities of Nodding or Drooping Trilliums, Trout Lilies, Spring Beauty, Violets, and Hepatica in bloom.

As you continue up the trail you’ll be amazed at the number and diversity of wildflower that are in bloom right now. This is also a great area to explore the history of the area. About one mile up the trail follow the signs to the historic farm with a restored barn, and the Smokies Mountains Hiking Club cabin. The wildflowers also abound around these historic structures so you get a dual treat at this point.

The wildflowers mentioned above are just a few, and the most prominent you will find blooming on the Porters Creek Trail from early to mid April. As spring progresses other wildflowers such as Jack-in-the Pulpit, Little Brown Jugs, Yellow Trillium, Painted Trillium begin to bloom. If you are lucky and know where to look you may even find a Wake Robin (Purple Trillium) or Yellow Lady Slipper in bloom.

Check back in later in the month for an update on what is blooming on the Porters Creek Trail. And always remember “take only pictures, and leave only footprints”; leave anything you find for others to enjoy.

Hardwood Cove Nature Trail


The Fringed Phacelia are in full bloom on the Hardwoods Cove Nature Trail. This trail is noted for the thick carpeting of white wildflowers, mostly the Fringed Phacelia. If you haven’t experienced this trail yet during the Phacelia bloom, now is the time for a great outdoor experience.

Other wildflowers that were in bloom on the April 17th visit were Wild Ginger, Bishop’s Cap, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, White Trillium (white and pink colors), and Dwarf Ginseng. This is a ½ mile loop trail beginning at the Chimneys Picnic Area. Look for the Jack-in-the-Pulpits and the Dwarf Ginseng on the lower half of the trail, the Wild Ginger is near the small stream on the right side of the loop heading up. The White Trillium and the Fringed Phacelia won’t be hard to find, they are everywhere.

On the last visit to this trail on April 11th, Squirrel Corn, Spring Beauty, and Dutchman’s Britches were also out in full bloom. On the latest visit Dutchman’s Britches were non-existent, and there were only an occasional Spring Beauty and Squirrel Corn to be found. This shows how brief the blooming cycle of the spring wildflowers can be; if you want to see certain species of the early spring flowers in bloom you have to get to the area within a few days of seeing a report of their blooming.

For directions to the Hardwoods Cove Nature Trail, and more information on the blooming flowers on the last visit to this location, check out the April 11th article. The Great Smoky Mountain Association also posts an up-to-date wildflower report on their webpage, this is another good source to check out for blooming information.

Always remember to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines, “take only pictures and leave only footprints”.


The Lower Mount Cammerer Trail
April 20, 2009 Courtesy of Tom Harrington

Lower Mount Cammerer (From Cosby to the Appalachian Trail) - Erect Trillium, Foam Flower, Showy Orchus, Sweet White Violet, Stonecrop, Rue Anemone, Star Chickweed, Long Spurred Violet, Hairy Buttercup, Bishop Caps, Yellow Trillium, Canadian Violets, Solomon's Seal, Wild Phlox, Large Flowered Bellwort, Spotted Mandarin (one book says it is rare), Yellow Mandarin, Wild Geranium, Dwarf Ginseng, Creamy Yellow Violet, Common Blue Violet, Wild Oats, Halberd Leaved Violet, Wild Strawberry, Blue Cohosh, Plantain Leaf Pussytoe (about gone), Nodding Trillium (a few), Crested Dwarf Iris (a few), Toothwort, Trailing Arbutus, Birdfoot Violet, Wood Anemone, Brook Lettuce, Squaw Root, Meadow Parsnip, Wild Ginger, Purple Wake Robin (1), Little Brown Jugs, Squirrel Corn, Dutchmen's Breeches, Trout Lily, Round Leaf Violet, Bloodroot, Spring Beauty, Early Meadowrue, Golden Ragwort, and Sweet Cie.

Note: The Lower Mount Cammerer Trail is one of the best wildflower trails, and it appears few people check it out.

April 27, 2009 Courtesy of Tom Harrington

Cove Mountain (Beginning to End) - Sweet White Violet, Dog Hobble, Doll Eyes, Crested Dwarf Iris, Robin's Plantain, Plantain Leaf Pussytoes, False Solomon's Seal, Rue Anemone, Star Chickweed, Star Grass, Trailing Arbutus, Wild Oats, Dogwood,
Spring Beauty, Erect Trillium, Common Blue Violet, Birdfoot Violet, Squaw Root, Common Cinquefoil, Halberd Leaved Violet, Painted Trillium (3), Large Flowered Trillium (1), Prostrate Bluets, Wood Anemone (3), and Solomon's Seal.

Note: Most of the flowers that are blooming are on the first couple of miles from headquarters.

Laurel Falls (Beginning to End) - Common Blue Violet, Star Chickweed, Halbred Leaved Violet, Common Cinquefoil, Solomon's Seal, Wild Oats (I do not recall ever seeing so many of these blooming - last half mile before Cove Mt. Junction), Wood Anemone, Large Flowered Trillium (breath taking - many), Squaw Root, Rue Anemone, Hairy Buttercut, Canadian Violet, Foam Flower, Blue Cohosh, Large Flowered Bellwort, Creamy Yellow Violet, Erect Trillium, Toothwort, Stone Crop, Sweet White Violet, Yellow Mandarin (1), Meadown Parsnip, Blackberry (one limb with blooms - another budded), Wild Strawberry (1), and Dwarf Crested Iris.

Note: The last two miles of this trail before reaching the Cove Mt. Trail are breath taking. It would be worth a trip up there for visitors able to do the trail. Few blooming plants between Little River Road and the falls.

Note: Number of blooms and stage of blooms not indicated because of the vast difference from the lower elevation blooms and the higher elevation blooms on the above two trails.






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