Cabins USA Logo
Loading Page
RESERVATIONS
(800) 583-6168
Cabins USA Availability Search IconAvailability Search Small Icon


Guide To Smoky Mountain Spring Wildflowers of the Appalachians

Blog Home : Category Posts : Common Appalachian Spring Wildflowers | Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

Smoky Mountain WildflowersAh, spring. Out of winter's long bleak nights come longer days, more sunshine, and a new colorful natural palette of flowers. In the Great Smoky Mountains, Mother Nature shows her sense of colorful botanical accessories with beautiful, delicate, and stunning Appalachian wildflowers.

The stories behind these wildflowers are just as colorful as the blooms themselves. From how the plants reproduce to the folklore behind them, these wildflowers of the Appalachian trail bring a burst of color to the abundant greenery of the Smoky Mountains.

Vacationers to the Smokies can enjoy these wildflowers by taking hikes throughout the park anytime during the spring season. However, those visiting during April 21 to April 25 can enjoy the added advantage of enjoying the 65th Annual Spring Pilgrimage, which offers guided tours, seminars, and more.

If you're staying in the Smokies this spring, make sure to head to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to enjoy some of the most common Appalachian wildflowers. Who knows? You might even see some of these around your Smoky Mountain Pigeon Forge cabin rental!

Wildflowers of the Appalachian TrailCrested Dwarf Iris

Scientific Name:  Iris cristata

Bloom Time: March - May

Many people are aware that the iris is Tennessee's state flower, but did you know that the hills of Tennessee also boast a variety of dwarf iris. The crested dwarf iris boasts the blue-purple petals above 3 unique petal-like sepals, which each feature a beautiful yellow crest.

You'll find these miniature beauties in the mid to low elevations of the park from March to May.

White Fringed Phacelia

Scientific Name: Phacelia fimbriata

Bloom Time: May - June

The white-fringed blossoms of this phacelia variety often spread over large patches of the forest floor, giving the appearance of springtime patches of snow along the ground. The flower itself boasts 5 petals which look like a cup-shaped wildflower which turn purple with age. One interesting fact about this flower is that, after blooming, these plants die leaving their seeds in the ground to grow during the next year, making them annuals.

You'll find this branching plant with one-sided, coiled clusters of light blue, lavender, or white flowers with deeply fringed petals in mid to high elevations of the park.

Dutchman's Britches

Scientific Name: Dicentra cucullaria

Bloom Time: April - May

It's no secret where these plants get their name from. Dutchman's Britches boast the appearance of a pair of pantaloons hanging on the line to dry. The white, nodding flower on a leafless stalk that hangs over the plant's dissected leaves. Do not confuse this plant with squirrel corn, which blooms around the same time and and in similar areas. You can find Dutchman's Britches across various different elevations throughout the park.

One of the most interesting facts about Dutchman's Britches is that its seeds are spread by ants though a process called myrmechochory. The plant's flesh organ called an elaisome attracts ants. The ants take seeds to the nest where they eat the elaisomes, planting seeds in their nest debris where they are protected until they germinate and reap the added benefits of the nutrients of the debris.

Warning: All parts of this plant are toxic (in large quantities). The plant causes minor skin irritation when touched, lasting only for a few minutes. When ingested the plant causes trembling, staggering, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, labored breathing. (Summary: Look, don't touch).

Wildflower PicturesSpring Beauty

Scientific Name: Claytonia virginica

Bloom Time: Jan - May

Spring Beauty is one of the earliest spring wildflowers to arrive in the park. This flower's beautiful 5 pink-striped petals come in shades of white or pale pink. Though the plant is only 3 to 4 inches tall, it offers a lot of beauty. You can also identify this plant by it's pair of oval, dark green leaves halfway up the stem. You can find Spring Beauty across a wide range of locations and elevations of the park.

Peak flowering occurs between March and May depending on part of its range and weather.The flowers are 0.7–1.4 cm diameter with five pale pink or white petals, and reflect UV light.

Additionally, the plant itself grows from an underground potato-like tuber. Many Native Americans and early settlers used them for food and those interested in edible wild plants still enjoy the sweet, chestnut-like flavor.

Vasey's Trillium

Scientific Name: Trillium vaseyi

Bloom Time: April - June

The deep red flower of Vasey's Trillium is the largest of the trillium varieties of Appalachian wildflowers. It is the latest blooming trillium and can be found in mid to low elevations of the park. The red flower features three leaves, three sepals and three petals. "Sweet Wakerobin" is another name for these trillium blooms.

Trout-Lily

Scientific Name: Erythronium umbilicatum

Bloom Time: Early March

early March

With leaves that look brook trout with spots or blotches, the Cherokee Indians believed that when the trout lily bloomed it was time to fish. At 6 to 8 inches tall, the trout lily boasts a yellow, solitary drooping flower. You can find this flower in several different locations and elevations.

The Cherokee aren't the only ones who had mythology about this flower. Christian mythology holds that the lily sprang from the tears of Eve when she found out motherhood was near.

Trout-lily also has held several medicinal purposes. Native American women used the plant as temporary birth control in the spring to avoid labor in the most frigid part of winter.

Fire Pink

Scientific Name:Silene virginica

Bloom Time: April - August

This bright red flower is not called "pink" for the color but because of the notched tip. Fire pink is a spring wildflower that boasts a red flower with 5 petals on a slender stem with a pair of slender, opposites leaves. You can find this flower throughout the park in several location an elevations. This flower is also called "Catchfly" because of its sticky hairs, which trap insects.

Pink Lady's-Slipper

Scientific Name:Cyripedium pubescens

Bloom Time: April - July

A member of the orchid family, the pink lady's slipper is one of the most unique of spring wildflowers. The blossom has a pink inflated pouch and two large basal ribbed leaves that are somewhat hairy. This is the only lady's-slipper brand without leaves on the stalk (There are also yellow lady's slippers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park).

Orchids are the result of symbiotic relationship between the plant and fungus of the Rhizoctonia genus. Generally speaking, orchid seeds don't have food supplies in their seeds like most other plants. Pink lady's slipper seeds require threads from the fungus to break open the seed and subsequently pass on nutrients to the seed. Later on, when the plat is older, the pink lady's slipper plant will produce its own nutrients which the fungus will extract from the orchid roots.

The life cycle of a pink lady's slipper is long and it can take up to 5 years for the plants to bloom!

Final Thoughts on Appalachian Wildflowers:

These are just a few highlights of the over 1,500 flowering plants that call the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. So, head out on the trail with your wildflower guidebook and a sense of adventure to discover some of the most fascinating floral finds in the park.

Written by

Recent Articles

The Great Smoky Mountains After The 2016 Wildfire

The Smoky Mountains After The Fire

Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains are well on the way to recovering from the Nov. 2016 wildfire. Thankfully, most of the Smoky Mountains are untouched by this tragedy. Here's what we're thankful for after the fire in the Smoky Mountains.
Top 15 Pigeon Forge Winter Activities & Things To Do

Winter Things To Do in Pigeon Forge

Winter is a magical time to explore Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains. Use this guide to find the best winter activities and attractions to see during your wintertime trip to the mountains of Tennessee!
Veterans Day In Pigeon Forge And Gatlinburg | Cabins Usa

Veterans Day in Pigeon Forge

Come celebrate Veterans Day in Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee! You can honor the courage and sacrifice of our nation's veterans at a moving ceremony or learn more about the bravery of America's heroes at local museums.

Categories

Fall In The Great Smoky Mountains | Pigeon Forge | Gatlinburg

Fall Activities

Check out the many activities to do in the fall in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Townsend, Wears Valley, and Sevierville. - read more...
Smoky Mountain Vacation Tips

Smoky Mountain Vacation Tips

Tennessee Smoky Mountain vacation tips great for planning your family vacation, honeymoon or group getaway in the Smok - read more...
Smoky Mountains Blog | Whats Happening Now

Smoky Mountains - Happening Now

Smoky Mountains blog posts covering events before and as they happen throughout the Tennessee Smoky Mountains area. S - read more...

Please Note: Cabins USA LLC's, hereinafter referred to as Cabins USA, area information, area events, and blog pages are provided as a public service. Cabins USA does not endorse any of the products, vendors, consultants, or businesses referenced in these web pages. Any mention of vendors, products, businesses, or services on the Cabins USA web site is for informational purposes only. Users of this web site are responsible for checking the accuracy, completeness, currency and/or suitability of all information. The inclusion of this information does not imply endorsement by Cabins USA. Furthermore, specific questions regarding any content should be directed to the appropriate organization and not necessarily to Cabins USA.

Cabins USA Official Logo
starstarstarstarstar
2140 Parkway
Pigeon Forge, TN  37863
(865) 429-4121

VLS #157
Pigeon Forge Cabins
Guest Reservations
(800) 583-6168
2 Night Minimum















































Cabins USA Help Icon
Join Our Newsletter
Guest Sign In
Copyright 2013-2016, Cabins USA LLC, Pigeon Forge, TN

Interested in receiving our newsletter? Simply provide your full name and email address in these fields to begin receiving information. By doing so, you can learn about special promotions and events in the Smoky Mountains!

We respect our customer's privacy and feel it is disrespectful to bombard anyone with emails. We treat all information that customers share with us as private and confidential. Cabins USA never shares this information with third party sites.

Arrival Date: Mandatory, select or enter date you will arrive (MM/DD/YYYY)

Nights: Mandatory, select or enter the number of Nights you will be staying with us

Promotional Code: Must enter a valid code

Optional Search Items: (Amenties, Cities, etc)
Below are several boxes in which you can either select from a drop down list or click on a check box to the left of an item to select.

Changing the contents of any drop down list or selecting/deselecting a check box will broaden or narrow the number of properties displayed by your search. You don't have to wait until the search completes to select/deselect items for your perfect search.

You must hit the SEARCH button to start your first search. It is unnecessary to hit the SEARCH button after doing your first search, unless you changed to another web page, changed the Arrival Date or number of Nights.

Add to Favorites: As you visit individual property pages or pages with listings of several properties on them, you have the option to click on the "+ Favorites" for each particular property, which automatically adds the property to your list of Favorites for consideration. The number next to the Favorites tab, left sidebar, will increase up to 99 possible Favorites. When ready, click on the Favorites tab to view a list of your selected Favorites.

Remove from Favorites: You may de-select (remove) properties from your Favorites you no longer wish to consider by either clicking on the minus icon to the right or by clicking on the "- Favorites" displayed on property list pages and each property details page for properties listed in your Favorites.

Compare Favorites: Click in the check boxes to the left of the property name, in your Favorites, you wish to compare. No more than 3 boxes may be selected at one time. When ready, hit the Compare button for a comparison of the 3 selected properties.

Follow the above "Remove from Favorites" instructions to remove a property from the comparison and your Favorites.

To add another property from your Favorites list for comparison, click the check box to the left of the property name in your Favorites and hit the Compare button.

Repeat the above steps to find your ultimate vacation accommodations. Need assistance or have questions, please give us a call so we may better serve you!

View List: Displays a full list of all your Favorites with some details.

Remove All: Clears all properties from your Favorites so you may start over.