There are over 1,500 kinds of flowering plants that grow in Great Smoky Mountains, more than in any other American national park. These are some of the wildflowers and flowering shrubs commonly seen in the park during the spring months:
Spring Beauty - Claytonia virginica
Spring beauty is an early spring wildflower. The blossom has 5 pink-striped petals that are white or a pale pink. The plant is only 3 to 4 inches tall, and has a pair of oval, dark green leaves halfway up the stem. Spring beauty is commonly seen over a wide range of the park.
Bloodroot - Sanguianaria canadensis
Bloodroot is an early spring wildflower. It has many narrow white petals surround a center of gold stamens. It also has veiny and deep-lobed leaves. The roots contain an orange-red sap, which gives the flower its common name. Bloodroot if frequently seen in the low elevations of the park.
Sharp-Lobed Hepatica - Hepatica nobilis
Sharp-lobed hepatica is an early spring wildflower. It has a single flower on a hairy stalk, with a cluster dark, pointed lobed leaves. Sharp-lobed hepatica is frequently seen in the mid to low elevations. Also found in the park is round-lobed hepatica (Hepatica americana) which has rounded leaf tips instead of pointed tip.
Smooth Solomon's Seal- Polygonatum biflorum
Smooth solomon's seal flowers hang down below the hairless stem and area easily hidden by the leaves. Smooth solomon's seal is commonly seen in the mid to low elevations.
False Solomon's Seal- Maianthemum racemosum
False solomon's seal is a late spring wildflower. The white flowers and fruit are clustered at the end of the plant. False solomon's seal is frequently seen over a wide range of the park.
Foamflower- Tiarella cordifolia
Foamflower is easily recognized by the delicate spike of white flowers on a leafless stem. The leaves resemble maple leaves on long, hairy stems. Foamflower is commonly seen over a wide range of the park.
Galax- Galax sp.
Galax is a tall pillar of tiny white flowers surrounded by evergreen leaves. The leaves turn copper-red in the winter. Galax is only found in the southern Appalachians and is commonly found over a wide range of the park.
Bishop's Cap- Mitella diphylla
Bishop's cap has very small white flowers that resemble a tiny-fringed bell under a magnifying lens on the upper half of the stem. It has a single pair of opposite leaves halfway up the stalk and leaves at the base of the plant that resemble maple leaves. Bishop's cap is frequently seen in the mid to low elevations of the park.
White Trillium - Trillium grandiflorum
White trillium has a large bell-shaped flower, with three white leaves around a yellow center. The white leaves turn pink with age. White trillium is commonly seen in the mid to low elevations of the park.
Catesby's Trillium - Trillium catesbaei
Catesby's trillium is an early spring wildflower that is only found in the Southern Appalachians. The flower hangs down from the stalk and has three white leaves that turn pink with age. Catesby's trillium is frequently seen in the mid to low elevations of the park.
Painted Trillium - Trillium undulatum
Painted trillium has three white leaves around a yellow center. Each of the leaves looks to have a maroon "v" painted on it. Painted trillium is occasionally seen in the higher elevations of the park.
Vasey's Trillium - Trillium vaseyi
Vasey's trillium is the latest blooming trillium, and has a red flower with three leaves, three sepals and three petals. Vasey's trillium is frequently seen in mid to low elevations.
Yellow Trillium- Trillium luteum
Yellow trillium has a single yellow flower with narrow and erect petals. It has three leaves, three petals, and three sepals. It is frequently seen in the lower elevations of the park.
Halberd-Leaved Violets - Viola hasata
Halberd-leaved violet is an early spring wildflower. It is easily identified by its leaves that are shaped like arrowheads. It has small yellow flowers clustered near the top of the stem. Halberd-leaved violets are commonly seen in the mid to low elevations of the park.
Trout-Lily - Erythronium umbilicatum
The Cherokee Indians believed that when the trout lily bloomed it was time to fish. The leaves look like a brook trout with the spots or blotches on them. The trout-lily is 6 to 8 inches tall, and is a yellow, solitary drooping flower. Trout-lily is commonly seen throughout the park.
Robin's Plantain - Erigeron pulchellus
Robin's plantain is a daisy-like flower with very narrow light outer petals and small yellow inner petals on a small disk. Robin's plantain are frequently seen in the low elevations of the park.
Wild Strawberry - Fragaria virginiana
Wild strawberries are a spring wildflower, with fruit appearing later in the summer. This is a low growing plant with very small white flowers. Wild strawberries are frequently seen throughout the park, and the strawberry fruit is one of the favorite summer foods for black bears.
Fire Pink- Silene virginica
Fire pink is a spring wildflower. The name "pink" does not refer to the color of the flower, but that each of the five petals are pinked or notched at the tip. It is a red flower with five petals that is on a slender stem with a pair of slender, opposite leaves. Fire pink is commonly seen throughout the park.
Columbine - Aquilegia canadensis
Columbines have delicate red and yellow flowers that hang down from a slender stalk. Columbines are frequently seen in the mid to low elevations of the park.
Crested Dwarf Iris - Iris cristata
Crested dwarf iris has three blue-purple above three unique petal-like sepals. On each sepal is a yellow crest. Crested dwarf iris is commonly seen in the mid to low elevations of the park.
Wild Geranium - Geranium maculatum
Wild geranium has 5 petals on each blossom that stand 12 to 18 inches and are bright pink and purple. Wild geranium is commonly found in the mid to low elevations of the park.
White Fringed Phacelia- Phacelia fimbriata
White fringed phacelia is often found massing over large areas that look like patches snow. Each individual flower has five white petals that resemble a cup-shaped wildflower. The petals turn purple with age. White fringed phacelia is commonly seen in the mid to high elevations of the park.
Purple Phacelia- Phacelia bipinnatifida
Purple phacelia is the tallest phacelia in the park and has purple-blue flowers on hairy stems. It has leaves that are divided into segments and then lobed. Purple phacelia is occasionally seen in the mid to low elevations of the park.
Showy Orchis- Gelaris spectabilis
Showy orchis are usually have two long and egg-shaped basal leaves with the flowering stalk itself having no leaves. Each flower has a pink or lilac hood with a white lip. Showy orchis are commonly seen in the mid to low elevations of the park.
Dutchman's Britches - Dicentra cucullaria
Dutchman's britches look like a pair of pantaloons hanging on the line to dry. It is a white, nodding flower on a leafless stalk that hangs over dissected leaves. It is often confused with squirrel corn (Dicentra canadensis) which blooms at the same time in the same habitat. Dutchman's britches are commonly seen over a wide range of the park.
Squirrel corn- Dicentra canadensis
Squirrel corn has white, nodding flowers, small yellow tubers and compound leaves. It is often confused with dutchman's britches (Dicentra cucullaria), which blooms at the same time in the same habitat. Squirrel corn is frequently seen over a wide range of the park.
Bleeding Heart- Dicentra eximia
Bleeding heart is the pink version of the squirrel corn (Dicentra canadensis) It has four pink petals that look heart-shaped over a cluster of delicately cut basal leaves. It is occasionally seen in the mid to low elevations.
Blue Phlox- Phlox divaricata
Blue phlox is a blue or purple flower that has five notched petals that radiate from a very narrow tube. It is occasionally seen in the mid to low elevations of the park.
Thyme-Leaved Bluets- Houstonia serpyllifolia
Thyme- leaved bluets are a late spring wildflower. They are a tiny flower with four blue petals surrounding a central yellow spot. Often, the flowers are seen in a group. Thyme- leaved bluets are commonly seen throughout the park.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit - Arisaema triphyllum
Jack-in-the-Pulpit is a unique early spring wildflower. It has a "Jack" standing erect at his pulpit. At the base of "jack" is a cluster of tiny flowers and a piece of the flower is green or dark purple forms the pulpit by curving over to provide a canopy. Jack-in-the-Pulpit is commonly seen throughout the park.
Wild Ginger- Asarum canadense
Wild ginger has heart shaped leaves that hide a small, three lobed brown flower. The plant's odor attracts female fungus gnats into the blossom to lay their eggs, and pollen is exchanged among plants as the gnat goes between plants. Wild ginger is commonly seen in the mid to low elevations of the park.
Squawroot- Conopholis americana
Sqauwroot resembles an ear of corn coming out of the leaf-litter. It is a brown flower because there is no chlorophyll in it. Squawroot is actually a parasite, growing on oak roots. Black bears are known to feed on squawroot. It is frequently seen in the lower elevations of the park.
Flame Azalea - Rhododendron calendulaceum
Flame azalea is a spring flowering deciduous shrub that blooms at low elevations in April and at high elevations in June and July. The leaves and flowers are concentrated at the end of the branch, and the flowers are red and yellow. Flame azalea is commonly seen throughout the park.