Wildflowers 101: White snakeroot and mountain gentian

mountain gentian

Have you ever heard of “milk sickness”?  What could something like that possibly have to do with wildflowers found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Read on to find out.  The first wildflower we shall examine is white snakeroot. White snakeroot generally grows from one to four feet tall, and its white blooms appear from July through […]

Wildflowers 101: Summer finds

Crimson bee balm

As we advance in the summer season, it is only fitting that we examine some summer wildflowers. In this report we will check out crimson beebalm, Turk’s cap lily, and filmy angelica. Crimson beebalm is recognized as having one of the most brilliant scarlet red blooms among wildflowers found in the Great Smoky Mountains. The plant can […]

A glamping Eco-Adventure for Smokies biodiversity

As the weather warms in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the fragrant aroma of spring wildflowers fills the air. Northern cardinals sing in short bursts from the canopy, and robins flutter through the underbrush, calling out in search of a mate. Among the blooms, the distinct drone of insects joins the chorus as pollinators buzz […]

Wildflowers 101: Milkweed

Four-leaf milkweed. Photo by Tom Harrington.

Who does not enjoy seeing butterflies? Some visitors from Europe who are visiting the national park have told me that they no longer see butterflies in their countries. About this time each year, several people come to Cades Cove to take part in monarch butterfly tagging. The monarch’s survival depends on the milkweed plant. Monarchs weigh […]

Serendipity leads to learning about iNaturalist and the Smokies Most Wanted

Three birds orchid

Close friends tell me my middle name should be “Serendipity” given my often-impeccable timing for wondrous happenstance. While I tend to chuckle when they say it, I can’t disagree. As if on cue, of course, such happenstance struck yet again just before a recent late summer foray into the Smokies as part of my role […]

Plan ahead for the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

For more than seven decades, the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has brought participants into the park to experience the wonders of spring in the Smokies and learn about the natural world from leading experts. The 73rd Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage will be April 26–29, 2023. Photo provided by Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage.

Soon the long, sultry days of summer will be behind us, and autumn will be on the horizon. But some nature lovers in the Smokies may already be enthusiastically awaiting spring and a decades-old event that celebrates the remarkable diversity of wildflowers found in our region. For 72 years, the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in Great […]

Camera in the Park: Goldenrod season in Cades Cove

From about mid-August to the first Smokies frost, bright yellow clusters of goldenrods add intense patches of color to a mostly green landscape.  A quick Wikipedia search turns up interesting facts about the flower, including that it is the state flower of Kentucky, Nebraska, and South Carolina—and previously Alabama before being replaced by the camelia. […]

Camera in the park: Summer flowers in Cades Cove

Photography is quite simple, and yet at times it can seem hopelessly complex. Some people go to university to study photography and get advanced degrees, but others manage to do it without any special training at all…