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Consider the Lilies... (of the mountains)
Lens: FA 50 Macro, FA 100 Macro, others Camera: K20D Photo Location: East Tennessee 
Posted By: mole, 07-24-2013, 05:08 PM

Mid to late July is bloom season for several of our native East Tennessee lilies, and a great time to head for the relatively cool climate of the higher places. So we took a little hike on the Appalachian Trail recently, in nearby Greene County, right at the Tennessee/North Carolina border. Our goals (besides a good hike) were lilies, views, and one very rare plant.

We certainly found some fine & foggy views from several overlooks.

A bit of sunshine through the fog & clouds made for even more interesting views...

It's a rocky, rigorous but very well-maintained section of the trail, with plenty of interesting geology along with lush, diverse fern life.

Some of the plants were already ripening - here are some Mountain Maple seeds, and some "Scootberry" fruit. Officially they are called Streptopus or Twisted Stalk, but if you eat too many of these berries, you will get a bad case of the "scoots" (diarrhea).

All the fog and damp are perfect conditions for small, delicate, moisture-loving creatures, like this young Triodopsis snail...

And it was also the right conditions for our tallest native lily. Here are several views of Turk's Cap Lily (Lilium superbum). Plants may be 5-6 feet tall, and have 3 inch (or larger) flowers. Indeed a superb lily!

Biggest goal of this hike was to check on a state endangered species. One of my sons and I found this population a few years ago, and we like to come back and check on their health from time to time. Rock Harlequin (Corydalis sempervirens) is not so scarce up in Canada, but is an endangered species here in Tennessee. It's also a biennial - it sprouts the first year, then blooms, sets seeds and dies the second year.

We were pleased to find a thriving population of this tiny beauty, and plenty of blooms as well as ripening seed pods. Bodes well for the future of the plant...

Return hike was quick and uneventful - a perfect end to a perfect morning in the mountains. Hope you enjoyed the trip, and that you will share your comments & critique!

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07-24-2013, 06:46 PM   #2
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mtux's Avatar

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Very nice series, specially snail shots
Thanks for sharing
07-25-2013, 01:39 AM   #3
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Very high quality series and interesting narrating. I much enjoyed the trip, thank you!
07-25-2013, 11:54 AM   #4
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Mtux - Thanks! Snail sure was good at "posing!"

Johan - Thanks so much for your kind words!


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