Friday, April 19, 2013

Cove Hardwood nature trail~ The Smokies

Our last wildflower hike in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park…

Cove Hardwood nature trail

The Cove Hardwood trail starts from the Chimneys picnic area. It is a short .7 mile hike with an elevation gain of 235 feet.

Easy walk thru the woods.

The Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail tours a pristine swath of old growth hardwoods, and features a spring wildflower display considered tops in the Park. In April the forest floor comes alive with phacelia, trillium, bishops cap, spring beauty, toothwort, bleeding heart, and many more


cove hardwood walk_006One of my favorite wildflowers from our trip to the Smokies..

White Fringed Phacelia- Phacelia fimbriata

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cove hardwood walk_010White Erect Trillium Trillium erectum albiflorum

White Erect Trilliums  bloom in April and May, reach a height of up to 12",  and grow in large colonies from the foothills to elevations  up to 5000'. The blossom generally has a dark center which helps to distinguish it from  the Large-Flowered Trillium.

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The predominant flower on this trail was Trillium

cove hardwood walk_012Large-flower Trillium 

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Huge sections of Trillium..

cove hardwood walk_018In large clumps..

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Rue Anemone
Thalictrum thalictroides / Buttercup Family
Height: 4" - 12"

cove hardwood walk_024Small water crossing..

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Miterwort; Bishop's Cap
Mitella breweri

cove hardwood walk_046Sweet little red squirrel posing nicely…

cove hardwood walk_054The path crossed water several times…easy crossings when we were there.

It might be different after a hard rain.

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Does anyone know what this is?

Mystery solved that’s to naturalist extraordinaire

Jim McCormac 
"Your mystery plant is a cool liitle fern called Walking Fern, Asplenium rhizophyllum. The long tips of the fronds root where they touch ground, and form another shoot which then does the same. Thus, the plants "walk" about, and spread themselves in this curious manner."

..check out Jim’s blog here.

cove hardwood walk_074Arrow shaped leaves.

cove hardwood walk_075Solomon Seal

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Yellow Trout Lily Erythronium americanum

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Sharp-leaved Hepatica; Liverleaf
Hepatica acutiloba /Buttercup Family

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Flower sepals may be blue, purple, pink, or white depending on the pH of the soil --- a "natural litmus test." Alkaline soils produce blue flowers, acidic soils produce pink, and neutral soils produce white.


cove hardwood walk_094Fern fronds..

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Another one of my favorites of this trip.

Squirrel Corn Dicentra canadensis / Bleeding Heart

cove hardwood walk_122Close up of the flower..looks much like bleeding heart.

cove hardwood walk_132A carpet of Phacelia

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Carolina Spring Beauty Claytonia caroliniana

cove hardwood walk_113Fringed Phacelia….

from what I have the flowers get older they get a purple tinge to them.

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Rue Anemone
Thalictrum thalictroides / Buttercup Family
Height: 4" - 12"

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This was a super walk in an old growth hardwood forest with beautiful spring wildflowers.

I hope you all are able to experience spring wildflowers in

The Great Smoky Mountains!

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