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A Great Blooming Season
Lens: FA 50 Macro, FA 100 Macro, others Camera: K-5 Photo Location: East Tennessee 
Posted By: mole, 05-09-2016, 08:46 PM

This past early spring here in the East Tennessee hills has been an especially great season for wildflowers this year. Here are just a few samples from some March and early April wanderings…

First some Bloodroot - an early spring member of the Poppy family. We had LOTS of bloom this year, but only lasted a short time. (PS - the name comes from the reddish sap).

Twinleaf looks a lot like Bloodroot, but has an even briefer blooming season. This is a plant with very spotty distribution - can be very abundant in one location, and very rare in similar forests not too far away.

Here's another early season bloomer. Hepatica is often our earliest spring wildflower, and is quite abundant in a wide range of forests.

March is also blooming season for Rue Anemone. These tiny flowers start off pink, but soon fade to white. They're one of the plants called "windflower" because they shake in the slightest breeze. (and isn't that always one big challenge of photographing spring wildflowers…)

This is our other common anemone - Wood Anemone. Tends to be rarer than Rue, and found in older, richer forests.

Here's an "up close and personal" view of a tiny spring wildflower called Squirrel Corn. It's a distant relative of the garden flower called bleeding hearts, and a very close relative of another spring wildflower called Dutchman's Breeches.

We have LOTS of spring-blooming violet species. Here's one of the more unusual ones. Can you see why it's called Spurred Violet? That long spur holds nectar - so Spurred Violets are pollinated by long-tongued butterflies .

Here's another wildflower with a spur - it's Spring Larkspur. It's also called "staggers," because of the effect it has on grazing cattle.

There are many native Trilliums blooming here in the early spring. Here are two samples - Sweet White Trillium and Toadshade Trillium - to illustrate the two common flower patterns.

And here's a Trout Lily in full bloom - the name comes from the leaves which are speckled like a trout!

Solomon's Seal thrives near Trout Lilies, but keeps its delicate greenish blooms well-hidden beneath the leaves.

Cool, moist, gravelly stream banks are the best home for Virginia Bluebells. These were part of a population of nearly a thousand plants, all along one little East Tennessee stream.

Speaking of gravel - our native Columbine thrives in the rockiest places. I had to hold on to the limestone bluffs by my "teeth and toenails" to get these shots!

Limestone Bluffs are also the perfect home for Pink Azaleas. Unlike the ornamental garden varieties, our native Azaleas are deciduous. This one was not quite in bloom (that Beefly looks a little disappointed!)

Perhaps he should have visited this flowering tree instead. Paw Paw blooms are the color of rotten meat, and are often pollinated by flies!

But these blooms don't need any insect pollinators. Wind carries Red Maple pollen - insuring a good crop of "helicopter seeds."

Here's another wind-pollinated tree. The tiny red flower is the female, the long yellow catkin is the male on this American Hazelnut branch.

How about some more "flower-like" tree flowers? Here's a branch full of Flowering Dogwood blooms.

Will end with two rather strange-looking blooms, and one non-flowering plant. Here is a Wild Ginger flower - low to the ground and sweet-smelling, it's pollinated by ants. And this Blue Cohosh's yellow flowers will ripen to blue fruit. No fruit on the Christmas Fern, but sure is fun to see the fiddleheads unroll!

Hope I've not bored you with too many floral photos - but this is just a small sample of all the flowers I've seen (and photographed) in recent weeks. Thanks for any comments & critique!
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05-09-2016, 11:55 PM   #2
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My word, sir! Truly wonderful photography here. I find it difficult to pick a favorite, they are all so beautiful. Thanks for the treat.

05-10-2016, 06:11 AM   #3
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Time to do a book Mole. We got back from the Smokies a few weeks ago and I sure wish I had results half as good as these.
05-10-2016, 06:15 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonytee Quote
My word, sir! Truly wonderful photography here. I find it difficult to pick a favorite, they are all so beautiful. Thanks for the treat.

Tony - And thanks so much for taking time to comment, and for your very kind words!

QuoteOriginally posted by slowpez Quote
Time to do a book Mole. We got back from the Smokies a few weeks ago and I sure wish I had results half as good as these.
Susan - Did you post any of your Smokies photos? Would love to see them! Maybe a book someday...

05-20-2016, 12:28 AM   #5
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Gorgeous series!

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05-20-2016, 01:48 AM   #6
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Fantastic. I was fortunate to see some of these earlier in the month. Lovely photos from a gorgeous part of the world.
05-20-2016, 02:00 AM   #7
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You've been getting out and about it seems..............great shots.

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