Thursday, June 3, 2021

Flowers to spot at the end of Spring in Shenandoah National Park - Plants and Wildflowers

Jarman Gap Trail
Last week I had the opportunity to hunt for blooming plants in the Southern and Center sections of the Shenandoah National Park. "Hiking" three separate days we hiked on four trails; Milam Gap, Limberlost, Jarman Gap, and Riprap. We encountered more Appalachian Trail hikers on Memorial Day on the Riprap Trail than on any other days.

Mountain Laurel
There is about a 1,000 foot difference in elevation between the Southern and Northern Central parts of the Skyline Drive so some wildflowers down south were about a week ahead of the northern elevations.  

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Pink Azalea
Most obvious was the development of the Mountain Laurel which had really come out along the southern Riprap Trail and was holding back along the central Limberlost Trail. I would estimate that it's really going to be impressive in Limberlost around June 12th. There is a free park entry day on June 16th so that's where I'll be! 

Bowman's Root
We encountered some lovely wildflowers on Jarman Gap Trail. One being lavender blooming Skullcap. White blooming Viburnum shrub and pink blooming Azalea can be spotted all over the park this time of year. 

One of my favorite wildflowers, Bluets
Signs of bloomed out Early Meadow Rue could be found on Jarman Gap Trail but was stealing the show in Limberlost. Another sweet wildflower that I had never encountered was Bowman's Root. A delicate white wispy bloom and better described by its other name, Fawn's Breath.

One had to look fairly closely to find the teeny little Bluets scattered along the Limberlost Trail, conversely the Golden Ragwort was plentiful all over the central area of the park. It was nice to have my mother scout out for flowers one day and a friend on another day. They both were equally good at finding oddities. 

Daisy like Golden Ragwort
A few unknown plants were of the fungus plant world. May be you can identify these pretty plants?

Surprisingly, the more developed Limberlost Trail seemed to have the most variety of birds and plants but we did see a pileated woodpecker on the Riprap Trail. Jarman Gap and Milam had more inclines than the other two trails and require a little more skill but still very accessible. Riprap was a nice gradual climb and pretty safe as far as getting your footing. Limberlost is ADA accessible. 

In a few weeks the towering orange flowering tiger lilies in Milam Gap are going to be amazing!


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