Friday, July 23, 2010

Smoky Mountains #4: Wildflowers on Balsam Mountain

It has only been 10 days since we were in the cool temperatures and fog at 5,000 feet on Balsam Mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Temperatures here at home are in the mid-90s; the humidity is stifling; and Tropical Storm Bonnie is churning our way. It seems like forever since I was enjoying photographing summer blossoms in the Smokies—and staying cool.

Mountain wood aster
But trying to identify these flowers has brought a bit of the Smokies’ cool temperatures back to me. I snapped these images in the fog at Balsam Mountain Campground and the nearby Heintooga Pass picnic area. The reasonable way to identify the plants would be to consult a field guide as I photograph. Our time was short, however, and I was scurrying around trying to snap every blossom I could see. Husband Walter suggested labeling them as “yellow flowers” and “white flowers.” Although that would definitely be quicker, not finding their correct names would feel like calling a friend “Hey, What’s-Your-Name!”

Here are a few. Any corrections of misidentifications are welcomed!

A bee’s-eye view of the center of the bee-balm that brightens roadsides with scarlet blossoms.

One of seven sunflower species found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The heal-all plant, once used medicinally, sports tiny blue-violet flowers.

Rosebay rhododendron with insect visitor

Fly poison, a toxic beauty

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