Pink lady’s-slipper is a fairly rare spring wildflower in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The blossom has a pink inflated pouch (“slipper”) & two large basal leaves that are strongly ribbed.It is a member of the orchid family & grows to up to 18 inches tall. Witnessing these amazing wildflowers in bloom is a truly exhilarating experience!


Pioneer botanist, William Bartram, discovered flame azaleas in 1791. He described the plant as “certainly the most gay and brilliant flowering shrub yet known.”

In the Great Smoky Mountains, flame azalea flower colors range from white to peach to orange, yellow, or red. Blooming time is April and May in the pine and oak forests at low to mid-elevation, but not until June or early July on the mountain tops. The famous displays on Gregory Bald bloom in mid to late June and on Andrews Bald in late June. Flame azalea can also be seen on Balsam Mountain Road.

One of the first wildflowers to bloom each year, the fragile bloodroot appears well before trees leaf out. Native Americans used bloodroot as dye for baskets and clothing, as well as for body paint. In large quantities, the orangish-red juice found in its rhizome is poisonous and can be lethal. These flowers appeared near the creek bank at Up the Creek RV Camp but can also be seen on Porters Creek Trail or Rich Mountain Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There are still plenty of wildflowers blooming in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in August and September. This Turk’s Cap Lily (pictured right) was photographed from Newfound Gap Road. It is typically found in moist woods, balds or trail side thickets from July through September. This spectacular lily can also be seen on Kanati Fork Trail.

The Yellow-fringed Orchid (pictured below) can be seen on Cades Cove Loop Trail and Fork Ridge Trail. The blossoms range in color from bright yellow to deep orange. This delicate beauty also blooms from July through September.