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MORE THAN 1,500 PLANTS FOUND NOWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD…

st.johnswort….BUT WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA!

Here are excerpts from a recent article in the Asheville Citizen-Times by naturalist George Ellison.

“Buckley’s St. John’s-Wort is one of the endemic plant species found in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains and no place else in the world…

I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time recently on the Blue Ridge Parkway, conducting natural history workshops for the NC Arboretum and the annual Native Plant Conference sponsored by Western Carolina University.  From mid-July into early August is generally the peak midsummer flowering period for middle and high elevation species.

The displays vary from year to year, but I can report without reservation the 2016 flowering season is outstanding, especially along the section of parkway between Waterrock Knob and Mount Pisgah…

…Within the Southern Blue Ridge Province (SBRP), there are approximately 1,500 vascular plants (wildflowers) and 125 species of trees, where as in all of Europe there are only about 75.  The higher elevations of the SBRP can be thought of as a peninsula of northern terrain extending into the southeastern US to Mt. Oglethorpe in Georgia  – almost to Atlanta.  Given this variety of often isolated habitats, it’s not surprising that a high percentage of endemics occur….Fraser fir, Blue Ridge St. John’s-wort, Mountain St. John’s-wort, mountain krigia, pink-shell azalea, skunk goldenrod, Rugel’s ragwort and wretched sedge.  All can be located along the Blue Ridge Parkway except for Rugel’s ragwort, which is limited to the high Smokies…

…Unlike other St. John’s-worts, Buckley’s St. John’s-wort is a spreading, low-growing shrub that forms dense, cushion-like mats in crevices, on slopes and atop flat rock surfaces.  The bright yellow flowers consist of five delicate petals, three upper and two lower, and numerous stamens that create a fluffy appearance.  It’s a very attractive plant that has been cultivated as a groundcover, especially in  alpine rock gardens…”

The takeaway from this article is – that this is a prime time to get up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy not just the incredibly beautiful vistas, but some of the most beautiful wildflowers you’ll ever see in a natural setting.

SOURCE:  George Ellison, Columnist/Asheville Citizen-Times

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