My interest in wildflowers and other mountain flora began soon after I started hiking to waterfalls. There are almost a countless number of different varieties of plants growing along the trails and in the spray zones of the falls in this area. The flowering varieties are the ones that really catch most people's eye. Some are very easy to spot - others you really have to be paying attention to your surroundings to see. Most of what I have pictured in these galleries would be considered wildflowers, but I have also included flowering shrubs and trees.
When I began taking photos of wildflowers, I knew little to nothing about the plants. My strategy was to take the shot, then come back and attempt to identify the variety. That has helped me to recognize the more common plants I now see, but I still need help with many. I use a variety of sources to help me ID the plants - some books and some web sites. If all else fails, I'll email my pal KT and he can usually come up with an ID. Kevin Adams came out with an excellent book in 2004 - North Carolina's Best Wildflower Hikes: The Mountains. The book isn't meant to be an ID book, but lists 50 excellent hikes where you can see wildflowers, and details varieties that you will see along the trail. It's help me find some varieties I hadn't yet stumbled upon.
The easiest way for me to display these images is in a PBase gallery. I've tried to arrange the gallery in the order that I found them in the growing season. Spring varieties will be first, fall bloomers will be near the end. Bloom times vary from year to year and will vary depending on elevation. Some varieties just naturally have longer blooming periods. The link to the gallery is here - www.pbase.com/waterfallrich/southern_appalachian_wildflowers
Another gallery I have is of mushrooms, mosses, etc. I'm really lacking in the ID department here, so I'd appreciate any help you care to give - http://www.pbase.com/waterfallrich/mushrooms
Here are other web sites I have used to help me ID some of the varieties I have found
Wildflowers of the Southeastern US
North Carolina Native Plant Society
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