These orange and yellow flowers, which bloom each summer to early fall, droop down from the plants thin branches. Jewel weed's nectar attracts hummingbirds. Range: Georgia to Maine. Bloom season: June to September.
The petals of this red-and-yellow, nodding flower are said to resemble doves, thus the name derives from the Latin word columba, or dove. There are five “doves” on each flower, the red upward spur being the head and the flaring petals the wings. The spurs, or tubes, contain nectar and attract long-tongued insects and hummingbirds. Range: Georgia to Maine. Bloom season: April to July.
These brightly colored blooms are usually found in grassy clumps. The flowers consist of four petals of blue with a small yellow eye in the center. Their Latin name, caerulea, means “sky blue.” Range: Georgia to Maine. Bloom season: April to late June/early July.
Solomon's Seal is a very graceful and beautiful plant, but you have to look closely to see the flowers. The long, arching stem bears oval-shaped leaves on the top in an alternating pattern. Growing from the base of the leaves and hanging down beneath them are the tube-like flowers, in one or more flowered clusters. The flowers range in color from greenish white to yellow. The plant blooms in the summer, with the flower giving way in late summer/early fall to long-stalked blackberries often in pairs. The flowering stem which dies off in the fall is said to resemble the official wax seal of King Solomon of the Bible. Range: Georgia to southern New England. Bloom season: May to June.
Jack can be misleading, because, after its first year as a male, the plant usually becomes female and can change again depending on the environment in which it grows. These interesting plants are not easy to spot. Jack, or perhaps Jill, stands tall but hidden inside his, or perhaps her, roofed pulpit, which is usually green and white or dark purple and white. The pulpit, in turn, is hidden below large, 3-lobed leaves. Luckily, they often grow close to the Trail. Native Americans sometimes eat the root as a vegetable. In late summer, Jack transforms into a cluster of shiny red berries. Range: Georgia to Maine. Bloom season: April to late June.
Late spring and early summer see the return to the Trail of the extravagant blooms of the lady's-slipper. The twisting slender upper petals frame the balloon-like lower petal. Though the pink lady's-slipper is the most commonly seen along the Appalachian Trail, you may also encounter yellow, white or even the pink-and-white variety known as “showy.” These orchids are alternately known in some areas, including the Great Smokies, as the moccasin flower. Range: Georgia to Maine. Bloom season: Late April to July.
Look at this bloom upside down to find the yellow-topped white pantaloons which give dutchman's britches its name. With fern-like foliage this plant reaches up to twelve inches tall with several white and yellow blossoms per stalk. This plant can only be pollinated by bumblebees, which have a tongue long enough to reach the nectar deep in the end of the pantaloon legs. Range: Georgia to Maine. Bloom season: April to May.
Among the easiest spring wildflowers to identify are the many species of trillium, each with the distinctive three sets of three—three petals, three sepals, and three leaves. Trillium vary in color with red, yellow, white, and pink blossoms. The flower is said to have a foul smell which attracts carrion flies to pollinate the flowers. Range: Georgia to Maine. Bloom season: April to June.