Spring wildflower season in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit the area. The Great Smoky Mountains offer some of the best scenery in the country, river rafting
, and miles of hiking trails
to explore the flowers and plants that make this area so unique.
With so much diversity, it is hard to pick just six wildflowers that grow near Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the spring, but these are the most iconic and common. They are also the easiest to find an identify.
The name of this wildflower alone have made it a popular choice among those visiting the area in the spring. This elusive flower is actually a variety of orchid that grows deep in wet woodland forest like the forests that cover the Great Smoky Mountains.
The name of the flower comes from its appearance, resembling a shoe or slipper when it first buds, and then blooming into a long leafed pink and purple flower that is as delicate as it appears.
This wildflower is an endangered species so when one is found rangers and locals do everything they can to protect and safeguard the plants from disruption and trampling. Ask at visitor centers and tour guides for the best chances of seeing this springtime bloomer.
There are several varieties of trillium, with the white trillium and yellow trillium being the most popular and common. This wildflower has actually been commonly adopted into flower gardens around the country, which is because of its large blooms that grab everyone’s attention.
The white trillium wildflower can be found all over the Gatlinburg area, as well as most of Tennessee. And while they are known as white trillium, older plants can have both white and pink flowers, but they are the same variety.
The yellow trillium wildflower is generally only seen in smaller sections of the Gatlinburg area, because they have a much smaller area of the mountains that they are able to survive in. These flowers have a mellow yellow color to them, smaller blooms, and blend in with surrounding foliage a lot more that white trillium does.
Wild geranium closely resembles the vibrant geranium plants you find in a nursery or garden store, but their stems are thinner, longer, and more delicate. They are also commonly found with pale pink to pale purple flowers. This wildflower is most often found in the valleys and low lying areas of the mountains near Gatlinburg.
Often one of the first wildflowers you will find blooming in the area, Spring Beauty grows fast and wide. The pink and white striped flowers are dainty, but cover the thick mass of vines that almost take on the job of ground cover in most of the open forest areas. You don’t have to look far to spot this plant.
The beautiful trout lily, has a bright and vibrant yellow colored flower on top of a thin stem that sprouts from thick, dark green blades. This wildflower only ever produces one bloom, but it is beautiful and long lasting.
The wildflower got its name from the local tribes, which took the blooms as a signal that it was time to fish the river for trout. To spot this tree, pick trails that run near sources of water, especially rivers, as the lily requires moist soil to thrive and bloom.
The bloodroot, like many other wildflowers in the area, bears an interesting and descriptive name. Named for the red sap that it creates, the blood root can be found in valleys along the perimeter of tree lines where there is enough light for it to thrive.
Besides the red sap, this wildflower produces a beautiful, white, eight petal flower with a yellow center. The leaves of the plant are large and lobed, and many think they resemble tree leaves more than they do those of a wildflower.