Fall in Cherokee, North Carolina, is a thing of beauty. During peak color, you’ll see a whirr of yellows, golds, and reds along the Blue Ridge Parkway. According to the experts, the brightest colors will be visible at elevations between 4,000 and 5,000 feet—which includes most of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Peak color should hit the Blue Ridge Parkway around the third week of October this year.As the days warm into Spring, we are gifted with so many brightly colored budding wildflowers here in Cherokee, North Carolina. Think you know the wildflowers of the region? Test your knowledge and learn more about these Spring beauties that are popping up in and around Cherokee this time of year.

Special thanks to the featured photographers for sharing their Cherokee wildflower snapshots with us. We appreciate your eye for beauty! For more of their work, be sure to click the links below each photo.


Bloodroot is one of the first wildflowers to bloom each year, growing in shaded woodland areas. The stems and roots of the plant are red-orange, hence the name “bloodroot.” For centuries, Cherokee have used this part of the plant to dye baskets and fabrics, as well as for decorative body paint used in ceremonies.

(Photo by Will Stuart)

Pale Touch-Me-Not

Also called Snapweed and Pale Jewelweed, these flowers, when mature, will pop if touched, dispersing the seed. Some believe the sap of this plant can help alleviate itching from poison ivy.

pale touch me not
Photo by Claire DeLand


There are 13 different species of buttercups in the Great Smoky Mountains–nine of them native and four that have been introduced into the park. Look for buttercups from March to June.

(Photo by Steve Jones)

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel is a flowering plant in the heather family with pretty white and pink flowers that bloom in late May to June. In the Appalachians, unlike other parts of the country, mountain laurel can grow as big as trees.

mountain laurel
(Photo by Claire DeLand)

Crested Dwarf Iris

The yellow crest points on the petals of the Crested Dwarf Iris help show insects where to gather nectar for pollination. Although these plants are small (around 4 inches), the flowers have a strong fragrance. Look for them in dry pine forests, blooming April to May.

crested dwarf iris
(Photo by Steve Jones)

Trumpet Vine

Trumpet Vine or Trumpet Creeper is an ornamental vine with bright yellow-orange flowers that bloom around July and August. Favored by hummingbirds, in Europe the plant is called Hummingbird Vine.

(Photo by Monica Graham)

Vasey’s Trillium

Vasey’s Trillium is the last blooming Smoky Mountain trillium and it has the largest flower, growing up to two feet tall! Some people think the flower smells like a rose. This plant lives only in the southern Appalachians and blooms April to May.

vaseys trillium
(Photo by Will Stuart)

Yellow Lady’s Slipper

Yellow Lady’s Slipper is a rare type of native orchid that blooms from April to June and, when spied, are a favorite of wildlife photographers. They depend on the right fungi in the soil to survive, so careful viewing is essential, taking care not to damage the plant as well as the plants that surround it.

warren reed yellow slipper
(Photo by Warren Reed)

Wild Geranium

The bright, colorful flowers of Wild Geranium make it easy to spot from a distance. Blooming April through May, they are most common in low to mid elevations.

wild geranium
(Photo by Donna Boxman)