Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring 2010 HEATS UP: Temps & Nature!


Sunrise & Jet Contrail - Spring 2010
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

The High Knob Landform

Much like the upward rising Jet contrail above, temperatures during April have suddenly risen in the wake of a long winter!  

Although MUCH colder air poured into the mountains from April 8 into April 9, the pattern through the first week of April featured ( by day ) record early spring heat!

Trees Against A Golden Sky - Long Ridge
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

The fiery sunrises & sunsets captured so beautifully by my friend Wayne Riner have indeed been indicative of recent blazing days, which on April 2 featured a 90 degree max in Clintwood for the hottest temp ever observed so early in a year!  

The 90 degree max in Clintwood being orographically enhanced by downsloping air flowing leeward of the High Knob Landform
( HKL ) and Tennessee Valley Divide, on SSE-SW winds.

Another Gorgeous Sunrise - Long Ridge of TVD
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wild temperature fluctuations between night and day have been the only aspect which has kept mean April temperatures from being the hottest of all time ( e.g., on April 2 a frosty morning min of 35 degrees gave way to an incredible 55 degree rise to reach 90 in Clintwood by the afternoon! ).

This has been especially true of mountain valleys, where average nightly lows observed during April 1-6 were 35 to 36 degrees in both Clintwood & Norton.  Higher elevation valleys and basins within the High Knob Massif, above 2400 feet, had average nightly mins of 30 to 35 degrees during the period.


Historical April Climatology

April 17, 2001 - Snow In Clintwood
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The recent climatological history of April is one full of radical weather changes, both during the same month and from year to year, as seasons battle for control of the mountain landscape.

A Few April Events of Recent Interest
( from my climatology archives )

April 2-6, 1987:  2 to 4 FEET of snow depth ( drifts 10+ feet ).
Gary Hampton reported 3 feet of snow depth at the Norton Water Plant, nestled amid the base of High Knob in the city, with 2 to 6 feet of depth reported by electrical engineer Carl Henderson at the Blue Ridge PBS Transmitter Station on Eagle Knob of High Knob.

April 2, 1992:  A nearly stationary snowstreak of blinding snow squalls buried a NW-SE corridor, from Pine Mountain through Clintwood to Sandy Ridge, with 6-12" of snow depth.  More heavy snow fell across parts of the area during April 4.  Both Clintwood and High Knob had 12"+ of snowfal during the month, while Wise reported just 3.4" ( in between the heavy snow bands ).

April 7-11, 2001:  Heat.  Maxs of 82 degrees in Wise and
85 in Clintwood for the period ( not every day ).

April 17-18, 2001:  Snow.  A general 3-6" across the Russell Fork Basin from Breaks Interstate Park to Clintwood, with 7-9" in upper elevations of the High Knob Massif.

April 15-21, 2002:  More Heat.  Maxs of 82 degrees in Wise
and 88 in Clintwood during the period.

April 9-10, 2003:  Upper elevation snow.  Up to 6" fell at the summit level of the High Knob Massif.

High Knob Snow & Rime - April 2, 2004
Photograph by Otis Ward - © All Rights Reserved.

April 2, 2004:  Upper elevation snowfall, with 5-10" above 3500 feet in the High Knob high country.

April 2, 2005:  Snow. A general 1" to 4" of snow fell within the lower to middle elevations of the Clintwood to Wise corridor, with 6" to 10" above 3000 feet in the High Knob Massif.

Snow Drifts of 18" on High Knob - April 24, 2005
Photograph by Otis Ward - © All Rights Reserved.

April 23-24, 2005:  More Snow!  A general 2" to 4" of snow fell below 2500 feet, with 6" to 8" within upper elevations of the High Knob Massif.  My friend Otis Ward documented snow drifts of 18" on High Knob ( visible in photograph above ).

Viewed From Eagle Knob
High Knob Lookout Tower - April 4, 2006
Steve Blankenbecler Image - © All Rights Reserved.

April 4, 2006:  Light snow and rime
decorated the High Knob highcountry.

Snow & Drifts - High Knob High Country - April 8, 2007
 Steve Blankenbecler Image - © All Rights Reserved.

April 6-8, 2007:  Snow.  A general 4" to 6" of snow accumulated within the city of Norton, with 6-10"+ across the High Knob Massif ( where drifts were measured in feet amid the highcountry ).

April 10-14, 2008:  Wild Ride.  From a summer-like max of 83 degrees in Clintwood on April 10, the ole thermometer was hard pressed to even reach the 40 degree mark during afternoon hours of April 14.  For those living in mid to upper elevations, above 2000 feet, temperatures held in wintry 30s all day long, with even some 20s at the highest elevations within the High Knob Massif.  To top it off, Otis Ward submitted some gorgeously cold pictures of 3" to 4" of snow and rime blanketing upper elevations of the High Knob high country.

April 6-8, 2009:  Heavy snow.  A total of 8.5" to 11"+ of snow fell across upper elevations within the High Knob Massif, with 3 to 4+ feet drifts reported from High Knob into portions of the Big Cherry Basin along Little Mountain.   

April 24-27, 2009: Longest early season heatwave on record, with 4 consecutive days featuring maxs of 88 to 89 degrees in Clintwood.  Maximums of 74 to 77 degrees were observed on Eagle Knob of High Knob during the period ( at 4178 feet ).


Coldest April Temperatures On Record

High Knob Lake Basin - April 8, 2007
Steve Blankenbecler Image - © All Rights Reserved.

It can still get very cold during April, especially if there is snow covering the highcountry basins 
( such as in the image above ).

[ The elevation of the U-shaped High Knob Lake Basin is 3400 to 3600 feet above sea level, amid its main cold air pooling zone ].

Coldest Official April Temperatures In Wise ( 1956-2009 )
April 1, 1964....16 degrees

April 7, 1982....17 degrees
April 6, 1982....19 degrees
April 19, 1983..19 degrees

The coldest temperatures officially recorded on the nearby Wise Plateau, at an elevation of 2560 feet, gives one a general idea of the colder periods of the past 53 years.

However, since the recording site in Wise for the above minimums was located upon a sloping hill on the campus of the University of Virginia's College in Wise ( formerly called Clinch Valley College ), one has to look at elevated sites located in valleys to obtain a feel for what the coldest April conditions have been like amid the cold air drainage basins at 2400 to 3600 feet above sea level.

The High Knob Massif contains many highly elevated basins and coves sitting within the 2400 to 3600 foot elevation zone, as illustrated by my High Knob Landform Google Map:


Zoom in closer on the above map to see elevation contours, and click on the City of Norton placemark if others read outside their white box, as it tends to re-align all boxes for reading points of interest information ( some points contain a significant amount ).

Big Cherry Basin Wetlands - April 1995
Image Courtesy of USGS

Big Cherry Basin of the High Knob Massif has valley floors which range from 3120 feet above sea level, at Big Cherry Lake, to between 3200-3300 feet within its upper reaches.

The location with the longest data period in southwestern Virginia is Burkes Garden, with records dating back to 1896.

It is also located within a wide, upper elevation basin at 3300 feet above sea level.

Coldest April Temps In Burkes Garden ( 1896-2009 )
April 1, 1923......3 degrees
April 10, 1985....3 degrees
April 11, 1972...12 degrees
April 9, 1939.....13 degrees
April 12, 1921...13 degrees

The minimum on the UVA Campus in Wise on April 10, 1985 was a milder 19 degrees, as the coldest conditions developed with drainage into high valleys and basins.

Due to cold air drainage, many nights within the Norton to Coeburn valley corridor ( 2000 to 2200 feet ) are also significantly colder than in exposed locales at higher elevations like Lonesome Pine Airport in Wise ( 2680 feet ).

Nights featuring dry air aloft which are favorable for drainage can get much colder within the higher basins and coves, lying within the 2400 to 3600 foot zone!

Featured Cold Air Pockets within the High Knob Massif
High Knob Lake Basin: 3400-3600 feet
Benges Lakes Basin: 3230-3330 feet
Big Cherry Basin: 3120-3250 feet
Wolf Creek Basin: 2960-3040 feet
Cove Creek Basin: 2700-3200 feet
Stidham Fork Basin: 2725-3150 feet
Glady Fork Basin: 2880-3000 feet
Little Stony Basin: 2350-2950 feet
Machine Creek Basin: 2700 feet
Corder-Ramey Branch Basins: 2400-2650 feet
plus, many more!

So when frosty chill was felt into April 9 it came as no surprise, as past climatology clearly reveals it occurs every April with varying intensities ( generally the coldest conditions in high valleys & on the highest summits ).


The Natural Calendar

Maples & Frost - Looking To Pine Mountain
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

Wayne Riner Photograph Thoughts...
"With early spring, comes the red colors of maples getting ready to bloom while the valleys are covered in frost and fog."   

[ The above view is looking from Long Ridge ( along the Tennessee Valley Divde ) toward the majestic northeastern end of Pine Mountain, where it drops off into depths of Breaks Gorge in Breaks Interstate Park ].

While weather conditions are unpredictable from year to year, with wild swings in temperature and moisture levels over relatively short and long periods, the natural calendar of the living world conforms to these changes.

It is amazingly consistent and calibrated to local conditions ( as will be later highlighted! ).

Wood Thrush ( Hylocichla mustelina )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

A single, yet so beautiful, example of this incredible consistency within the natural world can be taken from my nature journal in which I record the return dates for the first Wood Thrush during the past decade ( heard and/or seen ):

Wood Thrush Return Date By Year:
1999......April 15
2000.....April 15
2001.....April 12
2002.....April 15
2003.....April 19
2004.....April 19
2005.....April 24
2006.....April 18
2007 ( Missing )
2008.....April 11
2009.....April 17

Despite one missing year, the average of those 10 spring seasons produces a mean return date of April 16-17 for Clintwood ( varying between April 11-24 ).

[ So +/- 7 days from April 16-17 should produce the fluty, gorgeous call of a Wood Thrush in Clintwood.  The mean date of arrival likely varying somewhat with latitude ( e.g., earlier across southern portions of the Appalachians ) ].

Not bad for a bird making a return flight from Mexico to Panama, where it spends the winter season ( a 1959 mile trip from Panama City to Clintwood ).

April 15, 2010
Update - Wood Thrush Returns! 

I heard the first Wood Thrushes of the 2010 season singing at around 8:00 PM this evening 
( April 15 ).  Most amazingly, this corresponded to both the first visible green jump to above the cliffs in the Head of Powell Valley ( read below ) and to the first observed Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Long Ridge by Wayne & Genevie Riner! 

[ Weather conditions do play a factor, as the earliest return date in 2008 was associated with an early season wave of heat; although, the Wood Thrush arrived just in time for a cold blast.  Bad timing, but they are tough as well as beautiful!

During 2005, the latest return date during the period, weather conditions upon arrival featured a last season snowfall ( southerly flow prior to the snow event likely aided migration northward )].

Veery Thrush ( Catharus fuscescens )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

In the High Knob highcountry the dominant thrush is the Veery, with its amazing ethereal song.  While I love Wood Thrushes fluty songs, Veeries are simply incredible!

[ It is interesting to note that Veeries off-territory during spring migration tend to sing muted, low songs.  My nature journal records a Veery Thrush singing in a low voice on May 5 and May 7 of 2009 near Clintwood, with a similar encounter in May 2003.

By contrast, Veeries on their home territory echo loudly across the lofty High Knob Lake Basin during May & June, as well as amid cold air drainages where Mixed-Mesophytic Northern Hardwoods finger downward from endemic Southern Appalachian Northern woods above 3300 feet ].

Swainsons Thrush ( Catharus ustulatus ) can also be heard during summer in the High Knob Massif at times, with Hermit Thrushes ( Catharus guttatus ) being common during the cold season.

High Knob Landform
Grindstone Dome - Head of Powell Valley
Photograph by Kevin Estep - © All Rights Reserved

The above view looking at the 2000 vertical feet of plunge off Grindstone Dome, within only 0.8 mile, is one of the greatest short distance elevation changes west of the Blue Ridge in all of the Appalachians.

Another interesting local aspect documented by my friends Elizabeth & Addison Stallard, within the head of Powell Valley of Wise County, is the time each year when the first "green" becomes visible at the top of the great band of calcareous cliffs ringing the Valley Head ( they mean the first hint of green leaves! ).

Date of First Visible Green JUMP to Top of Cliffs
Head of Powell Valley

2000.....April 21
2001.....April 14
2002.....April 14
2003.......April 2
2004.....April 18
2005.....April 19
2006.....April 13
2007 ( Missing )
2008.....April 11
2009.....April 17

Amazingly, these dates are very close many years to the return of the Wood Thrush ( as noted above in Clintwood ), the mean of the first visible green being April 14.

With this comes the unofficial arrival of "spring" in Wise County, even though snow more often than not falls beyond this time atop the highcountry!

April 15, 2010
UPDATE - First Visible Green Jumps Cliffs 

The first visible green jump to above the great cliffs within the Head of Powell Valley of the High Knob Massif was reported by my friends Elizabeth & Addison Stallard this morning ( April 15 ).

This jump corresponds, in that location, to an upward movement of green into the 3000 to 3200 foot elevation zone ( not solid green, but just some green instead of the red, yellow, and orange of early
budding species like maples ).

So against all odds, and this crazy April weather pattern of dryness plus wild AM to PM temperature swings, the natural world is pretty much running on its expected, longer-term schedule!     

It is, of course, a long time before the High Knob highcountry greens up completely, with leaves typically not reaching summer maturity at upper elevations until late May into early June ( even mid-late June during some years like 2005 ).

Water Elevation 3318 feet
Upper Norton Reservoir - May 23, 2006
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

This photograph illustrates the status of foliage amid Benges Basin of the High Knob Massif on May 23, 2006.  This date being chosen since tree leaves at most all lower elevations in the surrounding region reach the dark green of summer maturity by, or locally well before, May 20 each year.

One absolute certainty within the natural calendar is that low elevations will green up and reach summer maturity before high elevations, with only a few notable exceptions.

The main exception to this golden rule being the "thermal belt" zone, where nights tend to be much warmer and spring frost and sub-freezing temperatures less common than within cold air drainages of valleys below and the higher terrain above ( if higher terrain is locally present above the thermal belt ).

Every region on Earth with topographical variations in elevation tends to have a thermal belt zone.  In Wise & Dickenson counties it resides within middle elevations, between 2000 and 3000 feet, along slopes and on exposed ridges & plateaus.  It was learned by pioneers, and thus became favored sites for orchards and other frost sensitive crops.

So while the synchrony of the Natural World is incredible, there are significant local and regional variations which are forced by the interactions among geology, topography, and climate.


The HKL & Pine Mountain
An Unlikely But Perfect Union!

Without understanding what the High Knob Landform ( HKL ) is, one would not consider that High Knob and Pine Mountain have intimate connections, such that neither would likely be without the other ( incredible, but so true )!

One is a long, linear ridge that rarely rises above 3000 feet, while the other ( High Knob ) is a sprawling mass of elevated highcountry.

However, as this website has shown, there is much more here than meets the eye!

[ This entire subject being filled with IRONY since many through past decades, and before, believed that the mountain running southwest from Breaks Interstate Park was the same one which held the famous Cumberland Gap.

In reality, the two are not the same mountain ridge but do, indeed, possess amazing physical connections that go far beyond them merely having parallel gateways to the great American West!

To top it off literally, the crest of the southwestern horizon seen from Clinchfield Overlook and the balcony of Rhododendron Lodge in Breaks Park is the High Knob Massif ( more than 30 air miles away ).  It also caps the horizon upon looking across the great Skegg Wall atop Pine Mountain ( an amazing location ) ].

Kingdom Come Area of Pine Mountain - March 28
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Resting 42 air miles southwest of Breaks Gorge, on Pine Mountain, is Kingdom Come State Park.

[ A link to informaton about Kingdom Come State Park:
Kingdom Come State Park ].

Mature Plateau Terrain - March 28, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Majestic Kingdom Come is the highest state park in Kentucky with elevations that generally vary between 1650 & 2800 feet above sea level.

[ Mayking Peak of Pine Mountain, the highest designated peak along its 125 mile length, reaches 3273 feet above sea level to the southeast of Whitesburg, Kentucky.

Most interesting, that is 35 feet lower in elevation than the water level of the Upper Norton Reservoir shown previously ].

Kingdom Come State Park Area - March 28
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Although there was not much green up of trees during March, anyone traveling frequently between Kentucky and Virginia can not help but notice the often significant differences during autumn and spring ( with color peaks during fall being later, and green up during spring earlier, than on the Virginia side of the stateline...especially verses the High Knob highcountry ).

Gall on Chestnut Oak ( Quercus montana )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

According to the Kentucky Climate Center 
75 percent of Kentucky lies below 1000 feet in elevation and 99 percent of the state is under 2000 feet, leaving only 1 percent of the Bluegrass State 
( mostly along Pine Mountain & Black Mountain ) sitting above 2000 feet.

Implications of these elevation differences are huge, with temps recorded during the month of March 2010 being illustrative ( * ). 

March 2010 Temperature Means

Clintwood 1 W: Elevation 1560 feet
Average Max: 53.0 degrees
Average Min: 30.0 degrees
Mean: 41.5 degrees

City of Norton: Elevation 2141 feet
Average Max: 49.5 degrees
Average Min: 27.8 degrees
Mean: 38.6 degrees

Jackson, Kentucky: Elevation 1365 feet
Average Max: 56.7 degrees
Average Min: 38.8 degrees
Mean: 47.8 degrees

London, Kentucky: Elevation 1211 feet
Average Max: 55.9 degrees
Average Min: 35.4 degrees
Mean: 45.6 degrees

[ The Jackson, Ky., NWSFO weather station sits near the top of Sugar Camp Mountain, more than 600 vertical feet above the valley floor.  It is within the Kentucky foothills, amid their local thermal belt where nights are often milder than adjacent valleys ].

In the High Knob highcountry, March 2010 temps varied from low-mid 40s by day to low-mid 20s by night within topographic settings ( ridge-valley ) analogous to the above chosen points.

Average night-time temperatures during March within the High Knob Massif were similar to those observed during the months of January and February at both Jackson & London, Ky., thus its easier to understand how spring rebirth can come a month or two earlier to the Kentucky foothills! 

[ I have always found the above fascinating and it was one of the major aspects which pushed me into climate & biodiversity research.  Temperature differences during some evenings and nights are absolutely incredible between higher elevation valleys, like noted earlier within the High Knob highcountry, Norton, and Clintwood, verses locations within the Kentucky foothills.

These often amazing temperature variations occur throughout the year, during all seasons, and impact all life forms ( they adjust the Natural Calendar to local times )! ].

Example From Typical Evening
( Light winds & Partly cloudy skies )

April 12, 2010 at 9:00 PM - Temperatures

Lonesome Pine Airport in Wise ( 2680 feet ): 63 degrees
Clintwood 1 W ( 1560 feet ): 52 degrees

Eagle Knob of High Knob Massif ( 4178 feet ): 56 degrees
Upper Elevation Basins ( 3000-3100 feet ): 45 degrees

Kentucky Foothills at 9:00 PM

Jackson: 68 degrees
London: 69 degrees
Somerset: 70 degrees
Middlesboro: 66 degrees
Hazard Airport: 70 degrees
Pikeville Airport: 69 degrees

Up to 25 degrees cooler amid the high mountain valleys of the High Knob highcountry at 9:00 PM 
( 18 cooler at Clintwood 1 W ) verses the Kentucky foothills.

Merely a typical evening, with the most ideal settings featuring larger temperature extremes!

[ Update at 2:00 AM April 13...Current temps vary from upper 30s to lower 40s within lofty valleys of the High Knob Massif ( as well as Norton-Coeburn Valley & Clintwood ) to low-mid 60s along the exposed foothills of eastern Kentucky ( max differences of 25 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit )].


Ecological Significance of Elevation
Multiple Peaks In Flowering!

That the area is blessed with a large vertical range in elevation means that, just like in autumn, multiple peaks in spring flowering can be caught if one wishes to work their way upward in elevation over time ( * ).

Starting amid the lowlands of the Kentucky foothills, and lower reaches of the Clinch & Powell River watersheds, one may work upward through middle into upper elevations to catch multiple peaks in spring renewal.

[ While this journey will be associated with different species and natural communities along the way, it is still all part of the same, grand process of spring renewal ].

Truly a most wondrous aspect of our mountain region, that is played out once more during the autumn season, only in reverse, as colors peak in upper elevations and work downward over time into middle and lower terrain locations!

Reference the following to view
Autumn 2009 photography & information:




*Elevations vary by more than 3600 vertical feet between the summit level of the High Knob Massif and lower valleys within the Kentucky foothills.

Kingdom Come Biodiversity - March 28, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ Evergreen leaves of Teaberry ( Gaultheria procumbens ), locally called Mountain Tea, are visible on upper left in the above photograph by my friend Roddy Addington, along with a fruiting Haircap Moss ( Polytrichum sp. ), clumps of Leucobryum Moss
( Leucobryum sp. ) and a unidentified species of lichen ].

Pine Mountain is the largest mountain in the Bluegrass State by volume as its majesty stretches from Breaks Interstate Park into Tennessee 
( to Jellico Mountain along I-75 and the Clear Fork Valley ), and it is the greatest contiguous assemblege of biodiversity remaining in the state of Kentucky.

Turkey-tail Polypore ( Trametes versicolor )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Pine Mountain is highlighted on this website since it possesses an intimate connection to the High Knob Landform, being the second major anticline of the Cumberland Mountain Overthrust Block to the Powell Valley Anticline ( of the HKL ).

Geologically, Pine Mountain is a mirror image of the northwest flank of the High Knob Landform, from Cumberland to Little Stone Mountain, and like it is a high conservation priority ( that needs to be recognized along with the remnant massif of High Knob ).

North American Elk ( Cervus elaphus ) Scrape 
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Elk bulls scrape to both mark their territory and to get the fresh velvet off their racks.  In this case, it appears the bull is sending out a strong signal to any rival males to, "stay away from my ladies!"

[ North American Elk have returned to stay, regardless of whether one believes it to be good or bad, with numerous animals spreading outward from eastern Kentucky into southwestern Virginia during recent years ( to include a likely pregnant female on the Browning Farm ) ].

Although Pine Mountain lacks the lofty expanse of highcountry, and associated unique features of the remnant massif of High Knob, it is a wondrous mountain that mirrors the extended northwestern flank of the High Knob Landform 
( collectively, these are among the most rugged mountain arms found in the Appalachians. ). 

Mossy Rocks & Trees - Pine Mountain
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Pine Mountain is unique for many reasons, among which includes:

1 ).  It is the northwestern most mountain ridge of the Cumberland Mountain Overthrust Block & southern Appalachians ( and largest mountain in Kentucky by volume ).

2 ).  It is the first mountain of its kind encountered by air flowing into the area from the west & northwest.

3 ).  It is a geological fault scarp, the trace of which is amazingly linear along its entire 125 air mile length.

4 ).  Despite its relatively low elevation, it contains numerous northern species of flora & fauna which are rare in Kentucky, and represents the greatest contiguous assemblage of biodiversity in the Bluegrass State.

The High Knob Landform and Pine Mountain are physically connected by the same rock stratas below ground, and are joined above ground by transfers of energy that ripple through the fluid atmosphere between the two ( visible as orographic gravity waves on many occasions ).

Theirs is a truly unique union in space & time!

[ Rock stratas capping the High Knob highcountry dip steeply beneath the ground along its northwestern flank to then reappear once more, miles to the northwest, across the northwest slopes and crestline of Pine Mountain ].

For more information about the HKL & Pine Mountain connection, and why this site is named The High Knob Landform, reference:



Wildflower Species
of Special Interest
Wildflowers throughout the following section have been grouped alphabetically by common name for families, with individual species listed alphabetically by scientific name within families after any pictured specimens ( which are shown for illustration of a particular family & representative member(s) ).

A section highlighting complex families forms a large portion of this presentation.

[ Wildflower families would typically be alphabetized by scientific names, but for this general usage have been listed in order of more familiar, common names ]. 

Bloodroot ( Sanguinaria canadensis ) and Chickweed ( Stellaria media )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ Instead of just Bloodroot appearing alone, as it often does at the very beginning of spring rebirth, it is now being joined by many other species such as the Common Chickweed seen above ].

Unseasonably warm days through the first week of April have accelerated the growth of new species, especially across lower elevations of the mountain region.

While many of the species presented in this section can be seen during the April-May period, some listed come into bloom later in the year ( but have been included with their famiy group, if they are a resident species of this truly magnificent mountain landscape ).

NOTE: The following is only a partial listing of species.
[ Look for additions to this section in future months ].



Acanthus Family

Carolina Wild Petunia ( Ruellia caroliniensis )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Carolina Wild Petunia is a beautiful perennial wildflower which often begins its blooming during May.  While listed as endangered in New Jersey, and likely extirpated from Pennsylvania, it is not nearly as rare as some which grow within the counties of the High Knob Landform.

Fringeleaf Wild Petunia ( Ruellia humilis )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Fringeleaf Wild Petunia has only been officially listed within ten Virginia counties.

It is endangered within Maryland, Pennslyvania, and the state of Wisconsin, as well as threatened in North Carolina and Michigan.

Limestone Wild Petunia ( Ruellia strepens )
  Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Limestone Wild Petunia, as its name implies, is a lover of rich soils which have developed over time from calcareous rock stratas.

It is rarely discovered in nature outside of such favored settings, being most common, of course, within the Virginia karst belt. 

Other Acanthus Family members include:

American Water Willow
( Justicia americana )

Pursh's Wild Petunia
( Ruellia purshiana ) .



Agave Family

False Aloe ( Manfreda virginica )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

False Aloe, also sometimes called American Aloe, has only been documented within Lee County of the High Knob Landform in Virginia.  Its unusual blooms appear from late spring into summer.

[ False Aloe is a very rare and imperiled species within Virginia ].

Adam's Needle ( Yucca filamentosa ) is another member of the Agave Family ( Agavaceae ), with both native and introduced species.  Those native to the High Knob Landform are found within its great calcareous cliffs and barrens.



Arum Family

Jack-In-The-Pulpit ( Arisaema triphyllum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Jack-In-The-Pulpit is the most famous member of the interesting Arum Family with a couple of different variations ( at least ).

Jack-In-The-Pulpit
( Arisaema triphyllum ssp. triphyllum )

Jack-In-The-Pulpit
( Arisaema triphyllum ssp. stewardsonii )

The most common woodland variety is subspecies triphyllum, variation stewardsonii having more fluted spathes and a preference for wetlands ( reference Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora ).

Green Dragon ( Arisaema dracontium ) is also an interesting Arum of the High Knob Landform.



Barberry Family

Blue Cohosh ( Caulophyllum thalictroides )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Blue Cohosh is an herb that does very well amid the cool, mesic forests of the High Knob Massif.  
A nutrient demanding species with late April into May blooming times in mid-upper elevations.

Twinleaf ( Jeffersonia diphylla )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Twinleaf is a High Knob Landform-Clinch River Valley wildflower often confused with Bloodroot.

However, upon close inspection, it has a single leaf nearly split completely into two parts which will distinguish it from the multi-lobed leafs of Bloodroot. 

[ Twinleaf is most common in the piedmont & mountains of Virginia, especially within counties of the karst belt.  It tends to have a shorter blooming period than Bloodroot, as well as that of the next little beauty shown below ].

Mayapple ( Podophyllum peltatum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Mayapple is a common spring wildflower that is also in the Barberry Family.  Its growth begins during April across lower elevations, with blooming in mid-late April into May within most locations.

Mayapple Bloom ( Podophyllum peltatum )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

[ My nature journal records that it may bloom into June amid the lofty basins of the High Knob Massif ].



Birthwort Family

Wild Ginger ( Asarum canadense )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Wild Ginger is an often overlooked wildflower since its actual flowers are more often than not hidden from view by leaves and litter on the forest floor, with the relatively large kidney-shaped leaves being its best locating feature.

Minor variations in the nature of the flowers have given rise to the recognition of three different varieties of Wild Ginger:

( Asarum canadense var. acuminatum )

( Asarum canadense var. canadense )

( Asarum canadense var. reflexum ) .

Large Flower Heartleaf ( Hexastylis shuttleworthii var. shuttleworthii )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

A group of wildflowers often mistaken for Wild Ginger are known as Little Brown Jugs ( for their many little jug-like flowers ). This group can be distinguished by their evergreen leaves, which are smooth and leather-like in nature as opposed to the deciduous leaves of Wild Ginger.

Large Flower Heartleaf is one of several species of Little Brown Jugs which have been documented within the High Knob Landform:

Ruth's Little Brown Jug
( Hexastylis arifolia var. ruthii )

Variable-leaved Heartleaf
( Hexastylis heterophylla )

Virginia Heartleaf
( Hexastylis virginica )

A couple of other interesting species
in this family includes:

Dutchman's Pipe
( Aristolochia macrophylla )

Virginia Snakeroot
( Aristolochia serpentaria ) .



Borage Family

Virginia Bluebell ( Mertensia virginica )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Virginia Bluebell is a gorgeous wildflower that likes the rich soils weathered from karstic terrain within the High Knob Landform, from Wise into Lee counties ( also Russell & likely in Scott ).

Other documented Borage Family members include:

 Corn Gromwell
( Buglossoides arvensis )

Gypsyflower
( Cynoglossum officinale )

Wild Comfrey
( Cynoglossum virginianum var. virginianum )

Viper's Bugloss
( Echium vulgare )

Beggarslice
( Hackelia virginiana )

Hoary Puccoon ( Lithospermum canescens )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

American Stoneseed or Gromwell
( Lithospermum latifolium )

Tuberous Stoneseed
( Lithospermum tuberosum )

*Smaller or Bay Forget-Me-Not
( Myosotis laxa )

Large-seed Forget-Me-Not
( Myosotis macrosperma )

True Forget-Me-Not
( Myosotis scorpioides )

Hairy False Gromwell
( Onosmodium hispidissimum )

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied ) ].



Broomrape Family

Squaw Root or Cancer Root ( Conopholis americana )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Squaw Root is not your typical wildflower, as its actually a parasite that grows upon the roots of trees.  Its preference is Oaks ( Quercus spp. ).

Lacking chlorophyll and the means to utilize photosynthesis in order to tap and harness incoming solar radiation ( i.e., the sun's energy ) it is necessary for Squaw Root to obtain vital nutrients for life from the roots upon which it is attached. 

Although hardening over time, Squaw Root is quite soft upon spring emergence and is a favorite treat of hungry Black Bears ( Ursus Americanus ).

One Flowered Broomrape ( Orobanche uniflora )
Alan Cressler Photograph - © All Rights Reserved.

One Flowered Broomrape ( Orobanche uniflora ) is a parasite upon the roots of several different tree species.  It emerges during April and May within rich woods.

Beech Drops ( Epifagus virginiana ) is a herbaceous parasite upon the roots of American Beech ( Fagus grandifolia ) trees during the autumn.



Buttercup Family

Rue Anemone ( Thalictrum thalictroides )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

A much smaller and more common wildflower blooming around the same time as Bloodroot and Twinleaf is called Rue Anemone, with its little mitten-like leaflets.

Rue Anemone, sometimes also called Windflower, is a deception in that what appears to be its white 
( sometimes pinkish ) petals are actually sepals.  It has no petals!

[ The photograph by Richard above being zoomed in close for detail, such that the plant appears much larger than it really is upon discovery in nature.  As of April 9, I have both Bloodroot and Rue Anemone blooming together here in Clintwood ].

Mountain Meadow-rue ( Thalictrum clavatum ) is a southern Appalachian endemic documented across the southwestern half of the High Knob Landform ( including Lee County ), and a hand full of counties in the southern Blue Ridge of Virginia.

A few other local species of Meadow-rue include:

Leatherleaf Meadow-rue
( Thalictrum coriaceum )

Early Meadow-rue ( Thalictrum dioicum )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Tall Meadow-rue
( Thalictrum pubescens )

Waxyleaf Meadow-rue
( Thalictrum revolutum )

Small Wood Anemone ( Anemone quinquefolia var. minima )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Small Wood Anemone has a more limited range as a High Knob Landform & southern Appalachian endemic species than the much more widespread Wood Anemone.

Wood Anemone ( Anemone quinquefolia var. quinquefolia
is another early spring bloomer with white sepals only, and no actual petals, like Rue Anemone.

[ As noted above, it has spread outward through time from its stronghold within the southern Appalachians all the way north into Canada ( as many species continue to do in the wake of the last, great glaciations of the Pleistocene Era ) ].

Mountain Thimbleweed ( Anemone lancifolia ) is a limited range species which tends to intergrade, or hybridize, with Anemone quinquefolia varieties to make identification of these species harder ( as noted by the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora ).

Thimbleweed ( Anemone virginiana var. virginiana ) is a much larger & later blooming species of summer, with a widespread distribution.  It has a distinctive fruiting head that is cylindrical, or thimble shaped, from which it takes the name Thimbleweed.

Leather Flower ( Clematis viorna )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Leather Flower is widespread across the High Knob Landform and Clinch River Valley, but is an endangered species within states such as Illinois & Pennsylvania.  It likes basic soils and rich woods, with blooming into May or locally later.

[ Leather Flower, or Vasevine, being widespread in terms of being documented within nearly all the counties of the High Knob Landform, but likely not discovered that often in nature ].

Dwarf Larkspur ( Delphinium tricorne )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Dwarf Larkspur is a truly beautiful spring wildflower featuring a nice raceme of blue to white colored flowers above its deeply divided leaves.  Despite such beauty, it is poisonous!

While none of the above species are the type of Buttercup most often thought about, there are plenty of those within the counties of this landform ( more than listed no doubt ).

A few of the documented species include:

Small-flowered Crowfoot
( Ranunculus abortivus )

Tall Buttercup
( Ranunculus acris )

Allegheny Mountain Buttercup
( Ranunculus allegheniensis )

Waterplantain Spearwort
( Ranunculus ambigens )

Bulbous Buttercup
( Ranunculus bulbosus )

Early Buttercup
( Ranunculus fascicularis )

Swamp Buttercup
( Ranunculus hispidus var. caricetorum )

Bristly or Hispid Buttercup
( Ranunculus hispidus var. hispidus )

Hispid Buttercup Variation
( Ranunculus hispidus var. nitidus )

Rock Buttercup
( Ranunculus micranthus )

Small-flower Buttercup
( Ranunculus parviflorus )

Blisterwort or Hooked Crowfoot
( Ranunculus recurvatus var. recurvatus )

Creeping Buttercup
( Ranunculus repens )

Cursed Buttercup
( Ranunculus sceleratus var. sceleratus )

Other Buttercup Family species of local interest:

*Trailing white Monkshood
( Aconitum reclinatum )

Southern Blue Monkshood ( Aconitum uncinatum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

White Baneberry
( Actaea pachypoda )

Yellow Marsh Marigold
( Caltha palustris )

Mountain Bugbane
( Cimicifuga americana ) or ( Actaea podocarpa )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Black Bugbane
( Cimicifuga racemosa var. racemosa )
or
( Actaea racemosa var. racemosa )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Appalachian Bugbane
( Cimicifuga rubifolia ) or ( Actaea rubifolia )

Satin Curls
( Clematis catesbyana )

White-leaved Leather Flower
( Clematis glaucophylla )

Sweet Autumn Virginsbower
( Clematis terniflora )

Virgin's Bower or Devil's Darning Needles
( Clematis virginiana )

Sharp-lobed Hepatica
( Hepatica acutiloba )

Round-lobed Hepatica
( Hepatica americana )

Golden Seal
( Hydrastis canadensis )

Carolina Bugbane ( Trautvetteria caroliniensis )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Appalachian Bugbane is a globally rare species that is listed as very rare in Virginia.  It has only been documented by the Digital Atlas within the High Knob Massif area of Wise and Scott counties.  It is also found across the southwestern end of the High Knob Landform.

Satin Curls is a extremely rare and critically imperiled species within Virginia.

White-leaved Leather Flower is a rare species that was originally listed for Lee County, but may actually be historical to Virginia unless it can be discovered again in nature.

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied )].



Carrot Family

Meadow Parsnip ( Thaspium trifoliatum )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Meadow Parsnip does not look much like a woodland wildflower, but upon close inspection has nice umbels of tiny little flowers.  It blooms during April into May.

Hairy-jointed Meadow Parsnip ( Thaspium barbinode ) has widespread documentation within the mountains & piedmont of Virginia.

Filmy Angelica ( Angelica triquinata )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Filmy Angelica is a common species within mid-upper elevations of the High Knob Massif, and is endangered in both the states of Kentucky and Maryland.

A few other interesting local species include:

Hairy Angelica
( Angelica venenosa )

Spreading Chervil
( Chaerophyllum procumbens var. procumbens )

Hairyfruit Chervil
( Chaerophyllum tainturieri var. tainturieri )

Spotted Water Hemlock
( Cicuta maculata )

Poison Hemlock
( Conium maculatum )

Canadian Honewort
( Cryptotaenia canadensis )

Queens Ann Lace
( Daucus carota )

Harbinger Of Spring
( Erigenia bulbosa )

Rattlesnake Master or Button Eryngo
( Eryngium yuccifolium var. yuccifolium )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Cow Parsnip
( Heracleum maximum )

Canadian Licorice-root
( Ligusticum canadense )

Clayton's Sweetroot
( Osmorhiza claytonii )

Longstyle Sweetroot
( Osmorhiza longistylis )

Stiff Cowbane
( Oxypolis rigidior )

Wild Parsnip
( Pastinaca sativa )

Canadian Black Snakeroot
( Sanicula canadensis var. canadensis )

Maryland Sanicle or Mayland Black Snakeroot 
( Sanicula marilandica )

Clustered Black Snakeroot
( Sanicula odorata )

Small's Black Snakeroot
( Sanicula smallii )

Largefruit Black Snakeroot
( Sanicula trifoliata )

Yellow Pimpernel
( Taenidia integerrima )

Spreading Hedge Parsley
( Torilis arvensis ssp. arvensis )

Golden Alexander or Meadow Zizia
( Zizia aptera )

Golden Zizia
( Zizia aurea )

Mountain Golden Alexander
( Zizia trifoliata )

The Cow Parsnip of upper elevations within the High Knob Massif is often a good floral gage of spring & summer wetness, with wetter seasons causing it to grow 6 to 10+ feet tall ( producing an impressive looking plant ).

[ Cow Parsnip is an endangered species in Kentucky, being primarily restricted to upper elevations of Black Mountain ].

Although the Rattlesnake Master is globally secure, it is a very rare and imperiled species within Virginia.



Dogbane Family

Common Periwinkle ( Vinca minor )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Periwinkle is a very common evergreen vine introduced to Virginia, and currently in bloom within many locations. It is classified as an exotic invasive, essentially a pest, due to its tendency to spread ( despite its pretty, star-shaped bloom ).

Other Dogbane Family members include:

*Spreading Dogbane
( Apocynum androsaemifolium )

Dogbane or Indian Hemp
( Apocynum cannabinum )

Indian Hemp 
( Apocynum sibiricum )

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied )].



Figwort Family

Blue-Eyed Mary ( Collinsia verna )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Blue-eyed Mary is a imperiled species known from only five counties in Virginia, mostly within the Upper Tennessee River Basin ( including Scott & Russell ).  It is endangered in Tennessee, and known from only two counties in central portions of that state.

[ Its G5 Status, globally secure, seems unwarranted given its obvious rarity within North America ].

Purple False Foxglove ( Agalinis purpurea )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Purple False Foxglove is another gorgeous wildflower that is one of so many within the wonderful Figwort Family.  Its found in Wise County and across the southwestern end of the High Knob Landform.

Other Figwort Family members include:

Slenderleaf False Foxglove
( Agalinis tenuifolia var. tenuifolia )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Smooth Yellow False Foxglove
( Aureolaria flava )

Entireleaf Yellow False Foxglove
( Aureolaria laevigata )

Fernleaf Yellow False Foxglove
( Aureolaria pedicularia )

 Downy False Foxglove
( Aureolaria virginica )

*American Bluehearts
( Buchnera americana )

Dwarf Snapdragon
( Chaenorrhinum minus )

White Turtlehead ( Chelone glabra )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Mullein Foxglove
( Dasistoma macrophylla )

Clammy Hedge-hyssop
( Gratiola neglecta )

Butter & Eggs
( Linaria vulgaris )

Yellowseed False Pimpernel
( Lindernia dubia var. dubia )

*American Cowwheat
( Melampyrum lineare )

Sharpwing Monkeyflower
**( Mimulus alatus )

**Monkeyflower ( Mimulus ringens )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Canadian Lousewort
( Pedicularis canadensis )

Swamp Lousewort
( Pedicularis lanceolata )

Longsepal Beardtongue
( Penstemon calycosus )

Eastern Gray Beardtongue ( Penstemon canescens )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Talus Slope Penstemon ( Penstemon digitalis )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Eastern Smooth Beardtongue
( Penstemon laevigatus )

Pale Beardtongue
( Penstemon pallidus )

Carpenter's Square
( Scrophularia marilandica )

Moth Mullein
( Verbascum blattaria )

Wooly Mullein ( Verbascum thapsus )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Green Field Speedwell
( Veronica agrestis )

American Speedwell
( Veronica americana )

Water Speedwell
( Veronica anagallis-aquatica )

Corn Speedwell
( Veronica arvensis )

*Ivyleaf Speedwell
( Veronica hederifolia )

Common Gypseyweed
( Veronica officinalis )

Neckweed Speedwell
( Veronica peregrina var. peregrina )

Bird-eye Speedwell
( Veronica persica )

Thymeleaf Speedwell
( Veronica serpyllifolia var. serpyllifolia )

Culver's Root Speedwell
( Veronicastrum virginicum )

Mullein Foxglove is a critically imperiled, extremely rare species in Virginia.  It is a resident of rocky, calcareous woodlands within the High Knob Landform.

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied )].

**Molecular studies have found that the genus Mimulus may eventually be placed within the Lopseed Family (  Phrymaceae ).


Gentian Family

Virginia Pennywort ( Obolaria virginica )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Virginia Pennywort is an early blooming wildflower of rich, mesic woods of the High Knob Landform, with widespread distribution between the Gulf Coast and southern Great Lakes 
( most numerous within the Appalachians ).

Showy Gentian ( Gentiana decora ) is a southern Appalachian endemic species with a late summer-early autumn blooming period.

Striped Gentian ( Gentiana villosa ) is an endangered species at northern limits of its range from Indiana & Ohio into Pennsylvania, with a local distribution from the Clinch River Basin to Lee County and southwestern portions of the 
High Knob Landform. 


Geranium Family

Wild Geranium ( Geranium maculatum )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Wild Geranium ( species: maculatum ) has been blooming for a while within lower elevation sites, such as The Pinnacle NAP of the Clinch River, but it will be a while longer before they begin within colder locations.

[ My nature journal records, for example, that Wild Geraniums were blooming in the High Knob Lake Basin on June 1, 2001 and during May 23, 2006 ].

I note the species above, since these additional Geraniums have also been documented within the High Knob Landform:

Carolina Geranium
( Geranium carolinianum )

Longstalk Cranesbill
( Geranium columbinum )

Cutleaf Geranium
( Geranium dissectum )

Dovefoot Geranium
( Geranium molle ) . 



Heath Family

Spotted Wintergreen ( Chimaphila maculata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Spotted Wintergreen is always a lovely discovery within the mountain woods, whether it be winter or during the May-June blooming period.

It possesses evergreen leaves, as is characteristic of members of the Heath Family.

Great Rhododendron ( Rhododendron maximum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Great Rhododendron, also called Great Laurel, is one of the most dominant members of the Heath Family across the High Knob Landform ( my nature journal records an extremely heavy bloom at High Knob Lake on July 2, 2009 during a chilly July in the mountains ). 

[ Although no variation of Rhododendron maximum is currently recognized in Virginia, there appears to be some botanical differences between upper & lower elevation species
( which future genetic testing may hopefully resolve )].

Mountain Laurel ( Kalmia latifolia )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Mountain Laurel is actually the true "Ivy" of the mountains, with a liking for rocky or sandy soils.  It can bloom from late April into June with increasing elevation.

The Heath Family adds greatly to this mountain landscape of the HKL, with a few of its members 
( within its VA, KY, TN sections ) including:

Trailing Arbutus
( Epigaea repens )

Mountain Tea
( Gaultheria procumbens )

Black Huckleberry
( Gaylussacia baccata )

*Box Huckleberry
( Gaylussacia brachycera )

Blue Huckleberry
( Gaylussacia frondosa )

Highland Doghobble ( Leucothoe fontanesiana )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Redtwig Doghobble or Fetterbush
( Leucothoe recurva )

Maleberry
( Lyonia ligustrina var. ligustrina )

Sourwood
( Oxydendrum arboreum )

Smooth Azalea
( Rhododendron arborescens )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Flame Azalea
( Rhododendron calendulaceum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Sweet Rhododendron
( Rhododendron canescens )

Catawba Rosebay Rhododendron
( Rhododendron catawbiense )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Cumberland Rhododendron
( Rhododendron cumberlandense )

Pink Azalea
( Rhododendron periclymenoides )

Early Azalea
( Rhododendron prinophyllum )

Swamp Azalea
( Rhododendron viscosum )

Farkleberry
( Vaccinium arboreum )

 Highbush Blueberry
( Vaccinium corymbosum )

Southern Mountain Craneberry
( Vaccinium erythrocarpum )

Black Highbush Blueberry
( Vaccinium fuscatum )

Blue Ridge Blueberry or Early Lowbush Blueberry
( Vaccinium pallidum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Upland Highbush Blueberry
( Vaccinium simulatum )

Deerberry or Squaw Huckleberry 
( Vaccinium stamineum )

Highland Doghobble is an extremely to very rare shrub species of Virginia with a local abundance in some wet settings amid the High Knob Massif and its adjacent landform.

Redtwig Doghobble is an endemic shrub of the southern Appalachians, and is listed as endangered within Kentucky.  

Smooth Azalea has a Virginia Natural Heritage Program ( VANHP ) ranking of imperiled, which means its very rare within the Old Dominion.

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied )].



Honeysuckle Family

Trumpet Honeysuckle ( Lonicera sempervirens )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Trumpet Honeysuckle is a species reported from Lee County and the southwestern end of the High Knob Landform.

Japanese Honeysuckle ( Lonicera japonica ) is a widespread and very invasive species that has been introduced.

A few other members of this family include:

Limber Honeysuckle
( Lonicera dioica var. dioica )

*Wild Honeysuckle
( Lonicera dioica var. orientalis )

Amur Honeysuckle
( Lonicera maackii )

*Morrow's Honeysuckle
( Lonicera morrowii )

*Common Snowberry
( Symphoricarpos albus )

Coralberry
( Symphoricarpos orbiculatus )

Yellowfruit Horse Gentian
( Triosteum angustifolium )

Orangefruit Horse Gentian
( Triosteum aurantiacum )

Feverwort
( Triosteum perfoliatum )

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied )].




Indian Pipe Family

Indian Pipe ( Monotropa uniflora )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Indian Pipe is a ghostly looking plant amid the shady, damp woodlands of summer.  At times there can be massive eruptions of these following dry spells, with one documented as occurring during June 2003.

[ Indian Pipe is white or occasionally varied in colors, except green, due to its lack of chlorophyll.  This herbaceous perennial is interesting in that it forms a special relationship, like so many floral species, with fungi, who in the process of breaking down organic matter for their own energy supplies the roots of Indian Pipe with needed nutrients for its life.  A symbiosis exemplified! ].

Pine Sap ( Monotropa hypopithys )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Pine Sap ( Monotropa hypopithys ) is another interesting member of this family, with variations in its color as well ( other than green ).  It often arises earlier in the spring than Indian Pipe.

Sweet Pinesap ( Monotropsis odorata ) is a rare species wth documentation in Dickenson County 
( it may be locally more widespread ).

Indian Pipe & its associates were formerly placed within the Heath Family ( Ericaceae ), but have more recently been classified by some botanists as being part of a separate family called the Monotropaceae ]. 



Jewelweed Family

Yellow Jewelweed ( Impatiens pallida )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Yellow Jewelweed is a species of wet, mesic woods that blooms amid summer.

Although not stated by most accounts, it has a strong tendency to grow within upper elevations of the High Knob Landform and upon calcareous stratigraphy at lower elevations where it may replace the next variety.

[ My nature journal records July-August as blooming times within upper elevations of the massif ].

Orange-spotted Jewelweed ( Impatiens capensis )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Orange-spotted Jewelweeds favor wetter sites in lower elevations and have a distribution that is more widespread in nature outside of the karst belt.

Spotted Snapweed ( Impatiens balsamina ) is an introduced variety that is relatively rare within Virginia.



Madder Family

Partridge Berry ( Mitchella repens )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Partridge Berry is a gorgeous little wildflower of the Madder Family, with a pleasant smell.

It typically blooms during the May-June period, and often produces these beautiful flowers along with aromatic, edible red berries.

Other local members of the Madder Family include:

Common Buttonbush
( Cephalanthus occidentalis )

Piedmont Bedstraw
( Cruciata pedemontana )

Poorjoe
( Diodia teres )

Virginia Buttonweed
( Diodia virginiana )

Stickywilly Bedstraw
( Galium aparine )

Northern Bedstraw
( Galium boreale )

Licorice Bedstraw or Wild Licorice
( Galium circaezans )

*Shining Bedstraw
( Galium concinnum )

Lamarck's Bedstraw
( Galium divaricatum )

Lanceleaf Wild Licorice
( Galium lanceolatum )

Purple Bedstraw
( Galium latifolium )

False Baby's Breath
( Galium mollugo )

Bluntleaf Bedstraw
( Galium obtusum var. obtusum )

Hairy Bedstraw
( Galium pilosum )

Stiff Marsh Bedstraw
( Galium tinctorium )

Fragrant Bedstraw
( Galium triflorum )

Azure Bluet
( Houstonia caerulea )

Canadian Summer Bluet
( Houstonia canadensis )

Longleaf Summer Bluet
( Houstonia longifolia )

*Purple Bluet
( Houstonia purpurea var. calycosa )

*Purple Bluet
( Houstonia purpurea var. purpurea )

Michaux's Bluets ( Houstonia serpyllifolia )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Longleaf Summer Bluet Variation
( Houstonia tenuifolia )

*Blue Fieldmadder
( Sherardia arvensis )

Barren Bluets or Diamond Flower
( Stenaria nigricans var. nigricans )

Canadian Summer Bluets is listed as very rare within Virginia, and is found only from the High Knob Landform into parts of the New River Basin.

Barrens Bluets is a VANHP critically imperiled species, being listed as extremely rare in Virginia and documented only within Lee County of the High Knob Landform. 

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied ) ].



Mint Family

Ground Ivy ( Glechoma hederacea )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Ground Ivy is a prolific growing little plant that often spreads across yards and waste places.  It is introduced to Virginia, and not a native wildflower.

The Mint Family has many complex groups of species, with many native and introduced varieties.

A few specific species documented include:

Yellow Giant Hyssop
( Agastache nepetoides )

*Downy Pagoda-plant
( Blephilia ciliata )

Hairy Pagoda-plant
( Blephilia hirsuta )

Basil Thyme
( Clinopodium acinos )

Limestone Calamint
( Clinopodium arkansanum )

Lesser Calamint ( Clinopodium calamintha )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Wild Basil
( Clinopodium vulgare )

Horse Balm or Canada Horse Balm 
( Collinsonia canadensis )

Dittany
( Cunila origanoides )

American False Pennyroyal
( Hedeoma pulegioides )

Henbit Deadnettle
( Lamium amplexicaule )

Purple Deadnettle
( Lamium purpureum )

Common Motherwort
( Leonurus cardiaca ssp. cardiaca )

American Water Horehound
( Lycopus americanus )

Northern Bugleweed
( Lycopus uniflorus )

Virginia Bugleweed or Water Horehound
( Lycopus virginicus )

Heartleaf Meehania
( Meehania cordata )

*Wild Mint
( Mentha arvensis )

 Spearmint
( Mentha spicata )

Peppermint
( Mentha x piperita )

Apple Mint
( Mentha x rotundifolia )

White Bergamot ( Monarda clinopodia )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Scarlet Bee-Balm
( Monarda didyma )

Wild Bergamot
( Monarda fistulosa )

Spotted Bee-Balm
( Monarda punctata var. punctata )

Catnip
( Nepeta cataria )

Beafsteak Plant
( Perilla frutescens )

Beafsteak Plant Cultivated
( Perilla frutescens var. crispa )

Obedient Plant
( Physostegia virginiana )

Obedient Plant
( Physostegia virginiana ssp. praemorsa )

Healall or Common Selfheal
( Prunella vulgaris )

 Hoary Mountain Mint
 ( Pycnanthemum incanum )

Lommis' Mountain Mint
( Pycnanthemum loomisii )

Thinleaf Mountain Mint
( Pycnanthemum montanum )

Southern Mountain Mint
( Pycnanthemum pycnanthemoides )

Narrowleaf Mountain Mint
( Pycnanthemum tenuifolium )

Whorled Mountain Mint
( Pycnanthemum verticillatum var. verticillatum )

Lyre Leaf Sage ( Salvia lyrata )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Nettle-leaf Sage
( Salvia urticifolia )

Hairy Skullcap
( Scutellaria elliptica var. elliptica )

Hairy Skullcap
( Scutellaria elliptica var. hirsuta )

Hoary Skullcap
( Scutellaria incana )

Hoary Skullcap
( Scutellaria incana var. punctata )

Blue Skullcap
( Scutellaria lateriflora var. lateriflora )

Heartleaf Skullcap ( Scutellaria ovata )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

*Heartleaf Skullcap
( Scutellaria ovata ssp. ovata )

Small Skullcap
( Scutellaria parvula var. parvula )

 Leonards's Skullcap
( Scutellaria parvula var. missouriensis )

Smooth Rock Skullcap
( Scutellaria saxatilis )

Showy Skullcap ( Scutellaria serrata )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Heartleaf Hedge Nettle
( Stachys cordata )

Guyandotte Beauty
( Synandra hispidula )

Canada Germander ( Teucrium canadense )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Fluxweed or False Pennyroyal ( Trichostema brachiatum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Forked Blue Curls
( Trichostema dichotomum )

Hoary Skullcap is a very rare species within Virginia, with Lee being the only county west of the Piedmont to be Digital Atlas listed.

Small Skullcap ( Scutellaria parvula var. parvula ) is a VANHP critically imperiled species, although more herbarium work is needed to map out its specific varieties.  

Gyandotte Beauty is a very rare Virginia species, which ranges from the High Knob Landform across the Upper Tennessee River Basin.

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied ) ].




Muskroot Family

American Black Elderberry ( Sambucus canadensis var. canadensis )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Black Elderberry is part of the Adoxaceae Family, commonly called Muskroot, that now includes the interesting Viburnum's which were moved out of the above noted Honeysuckle Family ( Caprifoliaceae ).

[ Part of molecular and phylogenetic studies which are reshaping the arrangements and relationships of many floral species ].

Black Elderberries are associated with one of the many famous "winters" of the mountains, marked by chilly spells of weather during spring and summer.

Red Elderberry ( Sambucus racemosa var. pubens ) is a mid-upper elevation species within the High Knob Landform, where cooler conditions are the norm.  They prefer rocky woodlands and forests along boulderfields.

Red Elderberry is endangered within Kentucky & Illinois, and listed as a historical ( extirpated ) species of the state of Rhode Island.

[ Red Elderberry foliage, stems, and roots are all poisonous ].

Downy Arrowwood ( Viburnum rafinesquianum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Downy Arrowwood has beautiful blooms and is only one of numerous very interesting species of Viburnum in the High Knob Landform.  It is a threatened species of Kentucky, and endangered within parts of New England.

Other family members include:

Mapleleaf Viburnum
( Viburnum acerifolium )

Smooth Mapleleaf Viburnum
( Viburnum acerifolium var. glabrescens )

Northern Wild-raisin
( Viburnum cassinoides )

*Southern Arrowwood
( Viburnum dentatum )

Hobblebush or Alderleaf Viburnum
( Viburnum lantanoides )

Black-haw
( Viburnum prunifolium )

Rusty Blackhaw
( Viburnum rufidulum )

Hobblebush, sometimes also called Moosewood, is a Viburnum of the Northern Hardwood Forests of the High Knob highcountry.  It is endangered in Kentucky.

Northern Wild-raisin is a lover of the mid-upper elevation wetlands of the High Knob Massif and endangered within the states of Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied ) ].



Mustard Family

Brassicaceae Member Adds Color In AM Light
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

A member of the Mustard Family adds color to a majestic morning scene upon the Valley floor of the High Knob Landform.

Cut-leaved Toothwort ( Cardamine concatenata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Cut-leaved Toothwort is one of 17 species in the genus Cardamine listed on the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora ( part of the Mustard family ).

It was blooming early in April when Richard photographed the above specimen within majestic Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve of the Clinch River Valley, in Russell County, Virginia.

Close-Up View ( Cardamine concatenata )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

An analysis of DNA sequence data from chloroplasts ( the site of photosynthesis ) of what has been called the Cardamine concatenata alliance, of which the next two highlighted individuals are members, revealed that species found today within eastern North America, western North America, and Eurasia all developed separately!

An excellent example of how phylogenetics is helping to better define relationships among both living and extirpated organisms.

 [ In colder mountain drainages, Cut-leaved Toothwort may not bloom until mid-April into early May ].

Two-leaved Toothwort ( Cardamine diphylla )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Two-leaved Toothwort tends to be a higher elevation species that blooms in the High Knob Massif during late April and May.

Slender Toothwort ( Cardamine angustata ) tends to favor lower elevations, and blooms earlier.

Another group of Cardamine species fall into what are commonly called bitter cresses, which lack deeply divided leafs of toothworts and possess small flowers ( many very tiny ).

Small Mountain Bittercress ( Cardamine clematitis ) is a very restricted upper elevation endemic that ranges from the High Knob Massif and Clinch Mountain into the Mount Rogers area. 

Hairy Bittercress ( Cardamine hirsuta ), in striking contrast, is an introduced species that is common throughout Virginia.

[ Ditto for Pennslyvania Bittercress ( Cardamine pensylvanica ), except its native to Virginia ].

Many members of the Mustard Family, or Brassicaceae, have been introduced.  Some of these species are invasive, such that they tend to take up spaces ( fill ecological niches ) that would typically be occupied by native plants.

A few documented species include
( introduced & native ):

Garlic Mustard
( Alliaria petiolata )

*Pale Madwort
( Alyssum alyssoides )

Mouse Ear Cress
( Arabidopsis thaliana )

Sicklepod
( Arabis canadensis )

 *Creamflower Rock Cress
( Arabis hirsuta var. adpressipilis )

Smooth Rock Cress
( Arabis laevigata var. laevigata )

 Lyrate Rock Cress
( Arabis lyrata )

 Early Yellow Rocket Mustard
( Barbarea verna )

Garden Yellow Rocket Mustard
( Barbarea vulgaris )

Black Mustard
( Brassica nigra )
 
Field Mustard
( Brassica rapa var. rapa )
 
Gold-of-Pleasure
( Camelina sativa )
 
Shepherd's Purse
( Capsella bursa-pastoris )
 
Bulbous Bittercress
( Cardamine bulbosa )
 
Hairy Bittercress
( Cardamine hirsuta )
 
Small-flowered Bittercress
( Cardamine parviflora var. arenicola )
 
 American Bittercress
( Cardamine rotundifolia )
 
Western Tansy Mustard
( Descurainia pinnata ssp. brachycarpa )
 
Branching Whitlow-grass
( Draba ramosissima )
 
Spring Draba
( Draba verna )
 
Wormseed Wallflower
( Erysimum cheiranthoides )
 
*Spreading Wallflower
( Erysimum repandum )
 
Dames Rocket
( Hesperis Matronalis )
 
Field Pepperweed
( Lepidium campestre )
 
Virginia Pepperweed
( Lepidium virginicum var. virginicum )
 
Claspleaf Pennycress
( Microthlaspi perfoliatum )
 
Watercress
( Nasturtium officinale )
 
Fernald's Yellow Cress or Bog Marsh Cress
( Rorippa palustris var. fernaldiana )
 
Creeping Yellow Cress
( Rorippa sylvestris )
 
Wild Mustard
( Sinapis arvensis )
 
Tall Tumble Mustard
( Sisymbrium altissimum )
 
Hedge Mustard
( Sisymbrium officinale )
 
Roadside Pennycress
( Thlaspi alliaceum )
 
Field Pennycress
( Thlaspi arvense )
 
[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied ) ].




  Nettle Family

Wood Nettle ( Laportea canadensis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Wood Nettles are famous within the High Knob Massif, with an entire section across the head of the large Clear Creek Basin being named "The Nettle Patch."

The Wood Nettle is a mesic loving component of the endemic Southern Appalachian Northern & High Elevation Cove hardwood ecosystems of this remnant massif of the High Knob Landform ( also grows into lower elevation settings ).

Other documented Nettle Family species include:

Smallspike False Nettle
( Boehmeria cylindrica )

Pennsylvania Pellitory
( Parietaria pensylvanica )

Lesser Clearweed
( Pilea fontana )

Canadian Clearweed
( Pilea pumila )

Stinging Nettle ( Urtica dioica )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Stinging Nettle
( Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis ) .



Orpine Family

Wild Stonecrop ( Sedum ternatum )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Wild Stonecrop is another wildflower which often begins blooming during April, continuing into May or even June at higher elevations. It can be found growing at the base of trees, across rocks, logs, and near creeks.

Yellow Stonecrop ( Sedum sarmentosum ) is an introduced species that has spread across much 
of the area.  It has yellow petals.



Pink Family

Fire Pink ( Silene virginica )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

The beautiful Fire Pink is a species that will soon bloom, if its not already within warmer, low elevations, and continue doing so into the summer ( especially at higher elevations ). It possesses a long blooming period under ideal conditions.

Star Chickweed ( Stellaria pubera )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Star Chickweed is a woodland wildflower of surprising beauty, especially when it grows in large clusters.

Tennessee Starwort ( Stellaria corei ) is a less frequent variety which grows from the High Knob Landform to the Great Smokies.

Most folks are more familiar with the introduced varieties, such as Common Chickweeds ( Stellaria media ) & ( Stellaria pallida ), as well as the Grass-like Starwort ( Stellaria graminea ).

The Pink Family ( Caryophyllaceae like many floral families, decorates this ancient mountain landscape with some rare species, as well as introduced varieties.

A few additional species include:

Common Corncockle
( Agrostemma githago )

Thymeleaf Sandwort
( Arenaria serpyllifolia var. serpyllifolia )

 Big Chickweed
( Cerastium fontanum ssp. vulgare )

Sticky Chickweed
( Cerastium glomeratum )

Nodding Chickweed
( Cerastium nutans var. nutans )

Deptford Pink
( Dianthus armeria )

*Sweet William
( Dianthus barbatus )

Jagged Chickweed
( Holosteum umbellatum )

Appalachian Sandwort or Greenland Stitchwort
( Minuartia groenlandica )

Michaux's Stitchwort
( Minuartia michauxii )

Pitcher's Stitchwort
( Minuartia patula )

*Giant Chickweed
( Myosoton aquaticum )

Silvering
( Paronychia argyrocoma )

Smooth Forked Nailwort or Chickweed
( Paronychia canadensis )

Hairy Forked Nailwort or Chickweed
( Paronychia fastigiata )

Childing Pink
( Petrorhagia prolifera )

Trailing Pearlwort
( Sagina decumbens ssp. decumbens )

Bouncingbet or Sweet Betty
( Saponaria officinalis )

Sleepy Silene
( Silene antirrhina )

*Sweet William Silene
( Silene armeria )

Bladder Campion
( Silene latifolia )

Nightflowering Silene
( Silene noctiflora )

Ovate Catchfly
( Silene ovata )

Roundleaf Catchfly ( Silene rotundifolia )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

While Roundleaf Catchfly might initially appear similar to the common Fire Pink at a glance, it is a rare southern Appalachian endemic species.

Its been documented from the Cumberland Mountain flank of the High Knob Landform into portions of the Cumberland Plateau and, as Alan Cressler notes, likes growing under overhangs of sandstone cliffs where little rain can reach the plant ( unlike Fire Pink which can often be found within rich, mesic woods ).

It is a very rare, imperiled species in Virginia.

Starry Campion or Widowsfrill ( Silene stellata )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Maidenstears
( Silene vulgaris )

*Longleaf Starwort
( Stellaria longifolia )

Appalachian Sandwort is a rare endemic found within the Martin's Fork Wild River study area of the High Knob Landform.

It has only been documented in Lee, Floyd, Nelson & Madison counties within Virginia.  It is an endangered species in Tennessee.

Pitcher's Stitchwort is listed as an endangered species in both Indiana & Ohio.

Silverling is another rare plant species listed as endangered within Kentucky and threatened in Tennessee.

Ovate Catchfly is also a limited range species that has so far been found only within Lee, Wise, and Dickenson counties of Virginia. It is endangered in the states of Tennessee, Illinois, and Indiana.

Ovate Catchfly is a globally rare species that is listed as critically imperiled ( extremely rare ) in Virginia.  

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied ) ].



Purslane Family

Carolina Spring Beauty ( Claytonia caroliniana )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Spring Beauty was highlighted on the previous March update, but deserves another look since the flowers appear similar to a species that will bloom in early-mid summer amid the highcountry ( refer to Mountain Wood Sorrel ). 



Rose Family

Common Cinquefoil ( Potentilla simplex )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Common Cinquefoil is widespread across the eastern half of North America, and can be an invasive, weedy plant.

Several other Cinquefoil species
have been documented:

Canada Cinquefoil or Five Fingers 
( Potentilla canadensis )

Villosissima Fern or Dwarf Cinquefoil
( Potentilla canadensis var. villosissima )

Downy Cinquefoil
( Potentilla intermedia )

Norwegian Cinquefoil
( Potentilla norvegica ssp. monspeliensis )

Sulphur Cinquefoil
( Potentilla recta )

Many are interested in the Rose Family, so a good way to illustrate diversity is to list some of the additional species from this family which have been documented:

Tall Hairy Agrimony
( Agrimonia gryposepala )

*Small Fruit Agrimony
( Agrimonia microcarpa )

Harvest Lice Agrimony
( Agrimonia parviflora )

Soft Agrimony
( Agrimonia pubescens )

Beaked Agrimony
( Agrimonia rostellata )

Common or Downy Serviceberry
( Amelanchier arborea )

*Allegheny Serviceberry
( Amelanchier laevis )

Roundleaf Serviceberry
( Amelanchier sanguinea var. sanguinea )

*Running Serviceberry
( Amelanchier spicata )

Red Chokeberry
( Aronia arbutifolia )

Black Chokeberry
( Aronia melanocarpa )

Purple Chokeberry
( Aronia prunifolia )

Goatsbeard
( Aruncus dioicus )

Biltmore Hawthorn
( Crataegus biltmoreana )

*Scarlet Hawthorn
( Crataegus coccinea )

Cockspur Hawthorn
( Crataegus crus-galli )

Copenhagen Hawthorn
( Crataegus intricata )

Bigfruit Hawthorn
( Crataegus macrosperma )

Downy Hawthorn
( Crataegus mollis )

*Dotted Hawthorn
( Crataegus punctata )

Dwarf Hawthorn
( Crataegus uniflora )

Spreading Hawthorn
( Crataegus ×disperma )

Indian Strawberry
( Duchesnea indica )

Virginia Strawberry
( Fragaria virginiana )

White Avens
( Geum canadense var. canadense )

Spring Avens
( Geum vernum )

Cream Avens
( Geum virginianum )

Paradise Apple
( Malus pumila )

Southern Crab Apple
( Malus angustifolia )

Sweet Crab Apple
( Malus coronaria )

Common Ninebark ( Physocarpus opulifolius )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

American Ipecac
( Porteranthus stipulatus )

Bowman's Root
( Porteranthus trifoliatus )

American Wild Plum
( Prunus americana )

Chickasaw Plum
( Prunus angustifolia var. angustifolia )

*Sour Cherry
( Prunus cerasus )

Hortulan Plum
( Prunus hortulana )

Mahaleb Cherry
( Prunus mahaleb )

*Pin Cherry
( Prunus pensylvanica var. pensylvanica )

Wild Peach
( Prunus persica )

Wild Black Cherry
( Prunus serotina ssp. serotina )

Choke Cherry
( Prunus virginiana var. virginiana )

Common Pear
( Pyrus communis )

Carolina Rose
( Rosa carolina ssp. carolina )

Memorial Rose
( Rosa luciae )

Multiflora Rose
( Rosa multiflora )

Swamp Rose
( Rosa palustris )

*Sweetbriar Rose
( Rosa rubiginosa )

Prairie or Climbing Rose
( Rosa setigera )

Allegheny Blackberry
( Rubus allegheniensis )

*Graves' Blackberry
( Rubus allegheniensis var. gravesii )

Sawtooth Blackberry
( Rubus argutus )

Smooth Blackberry
( Rubus canadensis )

Sand Blackberry
( Rubus cuneifolius

Northern Dewberry or Enslen's Blackberry 
( Rubus enslenii )

Northern Dewberry
( Rubus flagellaris )

Bristly Dewberry
( Rubus hispidus )

Black Raspberry
( Rubus occidentalis )

Purple Flowering Raspberry ( Rubus odoratus var. odoratus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Pennsylvania Blackberry
( Rubus pensilvanicus )

Wine Raspberry
( Rubus phoenicolasius )

Japanese Meadowsweet
( Spiraea japonica )

Willowleaf Meadowsweet
( Spiraea salicifolia )

Steeplebush
( Spiraea tomentosa )

Virginia Spiraea
( Spiraea virginiana )

Appalachian Barren Strawberry ( Waldsteinia fragarioides )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Downy Hawthorn is an extremely rare species within Virginia that possesses a northern range ( i.e., it is much more common at higher latitudes ).

It grows amid portions of the High Knob highcountry, where elevation and cooler, wetter conditions make up for the lack of latitude.

American Ipecac is another species which is extremely rare in Virginia, with a Digital Atlas listing for only Wise and Halifax counties.  

Virginia Spiraea is a very rare global species, and is Digital Atlas listed as extremely rare in Virginia.

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied ) ].



Saxifrage Family

Foamflower ( Tiarell cordifolia )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Foamflower, also called False Miterwort, is a common spring wildflower that blooms along with others like Wild Geranium, Fire Pink, and Long-spurred Violet as the Coltsfoot ( Tussilago farfara ) of spring's dawn go into pappus.

[ The flowers of Foamflower grow on leaf-less stalks, called racemes, with long stamens capped by orange or red anthers that extend outward well beyond the flower petals ].

Bishop's Cap or Miterwort ( Mitella diphylla )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

True Miterwort, also called Bishop's Cap, is rather widespread within the mountains and piedmont of Virginia.

Miterwort ( Mitella diphylla ) Up Close
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

The beauty of Miterwort requires a magnifying lens in order to appreciate its five delicately fringed petals, possessing a star shape when extended outward ( as in the above plant ).

Allegheny Brookfoam ( Boykinia aconitifolia ) is a rare plant species of the High Knob Landform, documented from Wise & Scott counties into the great Cumberland and Brush Mountain wilderness of the Martin's Fork Wild River Area.



Spiderwort Family

Spiderwort ( Tradescantia sp. )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Three species of gorgeous Spiderworts have been documented within the High Knob Landform:

Mountain Zigzag Spiderwort
( Tradescantia subaspera var. montana )

Ohio Spiderwort
( Tradescantia ohiensis )

Virginia Spiderwort
( Tradescantia virginiana ) .



Vervain Family

Narrowleaf Vervain ( Verbena simplex )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Narrowleaf Vervain is a perennial wildflower arising from deep rhozomes which likes basic soils weathered from calcareous stratas, with blooming from May into June.

Other members include:

Lanceleaf Fogfruit
( Phyla lanceolata )

White Vervain
( Verbena urticifolia ) .



Waterleaf Family

Largeleaf Waterleaf ( Hydrophyllum macrophyllum )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Largeleaf Waterleaf is a wildflower of rich, mesic woods, with a concentration within the High Knob Landform & Upper Tennessee River Basin. Blooming is during May in most seasons.

Canada Waterleaf ( Hydrophyllum canadense ) is a mid-upper elevation species of High Elevation Cove Hardwoods & other mesic settings, with typical blooming into June amid the High Knob highcountry.

Virginia Waterleaf ( Hydrophyllum virginianum ) is generally a lower to mid elevation species with a more widespread distribution across the Piedmont & mountains of Virginia.

Purple Phacelia ( Phacelia bipinnatifida )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Purple Phacelia is a beautiful wildflower which tends to grow in conspicuous clumps where it is found. My nature journal records it blooming during late April and May.

Miami Mist ( Phacelia purshii )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Miami Mist ( Phacelia purshii ) is a lovely species with a concentration within the Upper Tennessee Basin and Clinch River Valley, with documentation within Lee & Scott counties of the High Knob Landform.

Small Flower Phacelia ( Phacelia dubia var. dubia ) is a species documented in Russell County, and near the southwestern end of the High Knob Landform in Tennessee.



Wood Sorrel Family

Mountain Wood Sorrel ( Oxalis acetosella )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

While Mountain Wood Sorrel flowers might appear similar at a glance, the plant is in a different family from Spring Beauty with shamrock, clover shaped leaves. It blooms later in most locations, with my nature journal recording June & July as the months for blooming in the High Knob Massif.

Violet Wood Sorrel ( Oxalis violacea )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Violet Wood Sorrel is a simply gorgeous species that blooms in the High Knob Landform.

It is interesting in that there can actually be two blooming periods during the year, one in April-May and the other during late summer into autumn.

Several additional Wood Sorrel species have been documented in the area that are more common:

Yellow Wood Sorrel
( Oxalis fontana var. fontana )

Great Wood Sorrel
( Oxalis grandis )

Slender Yellow Wood Sorrel ( Oxalis stricta )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.



Complex Family Groups


Composite Family

Golden Ragwort ( Packera aurea )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Golden Ragwort is a wildflower that fills pastures and road sides with golden yellow during April and May with a special liking for soils weathered from acid based stratigraphy.

Golden Ragwort ( Packera aurea )
 Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Although blankets of golden yellow beneath trees in pastures look beautiful, most species of Ragwort are poisonous.

Additional Ragwort species documented within the High Knob Landform include:

Small's Ragwort
( Packera anonyma )

Piedmont or Yarrow-leaved Ragwort
( Packera millefolium )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.


Roundleaf Ragwort
( Packera obovata )

Balsam Ragwort
( Packera paupercula )

Prairie Ragwort
( Packera plattensis )

Yarrow-leaved Ragwort is a state & globally rare species known only from Lee and Scott counties in Virginia.  It is critically imperiled, and a species of special global concern.

Balsam Ragwort is a species with widespread distribution but limited regional concentrations, with a preference for basic soils and part of a rather confusing array of species ( as noted by the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora ).

Plantainleaf Pussytoes ( Antennaria plantaginifolia )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Plantainleaf Pussytoes are named for their plantain-like basal leaves.  They are part of another complex genus named Antennaria, that is also in need of more herbarium study to better map out its specific species. 

They bloom from late March into May and favor xeric, or dry, well-drained soils.

Solitary Pussytoes ( Antennaria solitaria ) are easiest to identify quickly, since they are the only species of Antennaria to produce just a single flowering head ( in contrast to the multi-clustered flower heads of Plantainleaf Pussytoes and other genus members ).

[ Species of the Antennaria genus are Dioecious perennials, meaning that they produce male and female flowers on separate plants ].

Yarrow ( Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Yarrow is a widespread, very common member of the Composite Family that can bloom from April up until frost each year.

The very large Composite Family, also known as Asteraceae, possesses an enormous number of members such that it comes to dominate the floral color landscape during summer & early autumn.

A few common species to look for shortly:

 Eastern Daisy Fleabane
( Erigeron annuus )

Philadelphia Fleabane ( Erigeron philadelphicus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Prairie Fleabane
( Erigeron strigosus )

Robin's Plantain
( Erigeron pulchellus )

Additional Composite Family members of
the High Knob Landform counties include:

White Snakeroot
( Ageratina altissima )

Appalachian White Snakeroot
( Ageratina altissima var. roanensis )

Lesser Snakeroot
( Ageratina aromatica )

Common Ragweed
( Ambrosia artemisiifolia )

Great Ragweed
( Ambrosia trifida var. trifida )

 Prairie Broomweed
( Amphiachyris dracunculoides )

*Parlin's Pussytoes Subspecies
( Antennaria parlinii ssp. fallax )

*Parlin's Pussytoes
( Antennaria parlinii ssp. parlinii )

Corn Chamomile
( Anthemis arvensis )

Stinking Chamomile
( Anthemis cotula )

Lesser Burdock
( Arctium minus )

Pale Indian Plantain
( Arnoglossum atriplicifolium )

*Great Indian Plantain
( Arnoglossum reniforme )

Sweet Sagewort
( Artemisia annua )

Common Wormwood
( Artemisia vulgaris var. vulgaris )

Bearded Beggarticks ( Bidens aristosa )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Spanish Needles
( Bidens bipinnata )

Nodding Beggartick
( Bidens cernua )

Three-lobe Beggarticks
( Bidens comosa )

Devil's Beggartick
( Bidens frondosa )

Big Devils Beggartick
( Bidens vulgata )

False Boneset
( Brickellia eupatorioides var. eupatorioides )

Spiny Plumeless Thistle
( Carduus acanthoides )

Spotted Knapweed
( Centaurea biebersteinii )

Green and Gold Variation
( Chrysogonum virginianum var. brevistolon )

*Green and Gold 
( Chrysogonum virginianum var. virginianum )

Maryland Golden Aster ( Chrysopsis mariana )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Chicory
( Cichorium intybus )

Field Thistle
( Cirsium discolor )

Swamp Thistle
( Cirsium muticum )

Bull Thistle
( Cirsium vulgare )

Blue Mist Flower
( Conoclinium coelestinum )

Canadian Horseweed
( Conyza canadensis var. canadensis )

Lobed Tickseed
( Coreopsis auriculata )

Wood Tickseed
( Coreopsis major var. major )

Tall Tickseed
( Coreopsis tripteris )

Smooth Hawksbeard
( Crepis capillaris )

Cornel-leaf Whitetop Aster
( Doellingeria infirma )

Parasol Whitetop Aster
( Doellingeria umbellata )

Eastern Purple Coneflower
( Echinacea purpurea )

False Daisy
( Eclipta prostrata )

Carolina Elephants Foot
( Elephantopus carolinianus )

Devil's Grandmother or Tabacco Weed
( Elephantopus tomentosus )

American Burnweed
( Erechtites hieraciifolia var. hieraciifolia )
 
Beyrich's Fleabane
( Erigeron strigosus var. beyrichii )
 
 White Thoroughwort
( Eupatorium album )
 
Tall Thoroughwort
( Eupatorium altissimum )
 
Hollow Joe-pye Weed or Trumpet Weed
( Eupatorium fistulosum )
 
Common Boneset
( Eupatorium perfoliatum var. perfoliatum )
 
Rough Boneset or Vervain Thoroughwort
( Eupatorium pilosum )
 
Roundleaf Thoroughwort
( Eupatorium pubescens )
 
Sweet or Sweet-scented Joe-pye Weed
( Eupatorium purpureum )
 
Late Flowering Boneset
( Eupatorium serotinum )
 
Upland Boneset
( Eupatorium sessilifolium )
 
Steele's Joe-pye Weed
( Eupatorium steelei )
 
White Wood Aster or Common White Heafleaf Aster
( Eurybia divaricata )
 
Rough-leaved or Low Rough Aster
( Eurybia radula )
 
Schreber's Aster
( Eurybia schreberi )
 
Creeping Aster
( Eurybia surculosa )
 
Flat-top Goldentop Aster
( Euthamia graminifolia var. graminifolia )
 
Pink Thoroughwort
( Fleischmannia incarnata )
 
Shaggy Soldier
( Galinsoga quadriradiata )
 
 Spoonleaf Purple Everlasting
( Gamochaeta purpurea )
 
Common Sneezeweed
( Helenium autumnale var. autumnale )
 
Southern Sneezeweed
( Helenium flexuosum )
 
Purple-disk Sunflower
( Helianthus atrorubens )
 
Thin-leaf Sunflower
( Helianthus decapetalus )
 
Woodland Sunflower
( Helianthus divaricatus )
 
Giant Sunflower
( Helianthus giganteus )
 
Sawtooth Sunflower
( Helianthus grosseserratus )
 
Hairy Sunflower
( Helianthus hirsutus )
 
Maximilian Sunflower
( Helianthus maximiliani )
 
Small Woodland Sunflower
( Helianthus microcephalus )
 
Paleleaf Woodland Sunflower
( Helianthus strumosus )
 
Jerusalem Artichoke
( Helianthus tuberosus )
 
Smooth Oxeye
( Heliopsis helianthoides var. helianthoides )
 
Lemon Yellow False Golden Aster
( Heterotheca camporum var. glandulissimum )
 
Meadow Hawkweed
( Hieracium caespitosum )
 
Queendevil
( Hieracium gronovii )
 
Allegheny Hawkweed
( Hieracium paniculatum )
 
*Mouse-ear Hawkweed
( Hieracium pilosella var. pilosella )
 
Sticky or Rough Hawkweed
( Hieracium scabrum var. scabrum )
 
Rattlesnake Hawkweed
( Hieracium venosum )
 
*Hairy's Cats Ear
( Hypochaeris radicata )
 
Flaxleaf Whitetop Aster
( Ionactis linariifolius )
 
Two-flower Dwarf Dandelion
( Krigia biflora var. biflora )
 
Dwarf Dandelion
( Krigia virginica )

Tall Blue Lettuce
( Lactuca biennis )

Canada Lettuce
( Lactuca canadensis )

Woodland Lettuce
( Lactuca floridana )

Willowleaf Lettuce
( Lactuca saligna )

Prickly Lettuce
( Lactuca serriola )

Common Nipplewort
( Lapsana communis )

Oxeye Daisy
( Leucanthemum vulgare )

Tall Blazing Star
( Liatris aspera var. intermedia )

Dense Blazing Star
( Liatris spicata )

Scaly Blazing Star
( Liatris squarrosa var. squarrosa )

Disc Mayweed
( Matricaria discoidea )

Whorled Aster
( Oclemena acuminata )

Santa Maria Feverfew
( Parthenium hysterophorus )

Narrowleaf Silkgrass
( Pityopsis graminifolia )

Whiteflower Leafcup
( Polymnia canadensis )

White Rattlesnake Root
( Prenanthes alba )

Tall Rattlesnake Root
( Prenanthes altissima )

Gall-of-the-Earth
( Prenanthes trifoliolata )

Rabbit Tobacco
( Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium )

Rabbit Tobacco Variation
( Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium var. praecox )

Carolina Desert Chicory
( Pyrrhopappus carolinianus )

Orange Coneflower
( Rudbeckia fulgida )

Black-eyed Susan ( Rudbeckia hirta )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Cutleaf Coneflower
( Rudbeckia laciniata )

Brown-eyed Susan Variation
( Rudbeckia triloba var. pinnatiloba )

Brown-eyed Susan ( Rudbeckia triloba var. triloba )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Toothed White-top Aster
( Sericocarpus asteroides )

Narrowleaf White-top Aster
( Sericocarpus linifolius )

Starry Rosinweed
( Silphium asteriscus )

Starry Rosinweed Variation
( Silphium asteriscus var. latifolium )

Cup Plant
( Silphium perfoliatum )

Cup Plant Variation
( Silphium perfoliatum var. perfoliatum )

Prairie Rosinweed
( Silphium terebinthinaceum )

Hairy Leafcup
( Smallanthus uvedalia )

Canada Goldenrod
( Solidago altissima var. altissima )

Atlantic Goldenrod
( Solidago arguta )

White Goldenrod
( Solidago bicolor )

Bluestem Goldenrod
( Solidago caesia )

Harger's Goldenrod
( Solidago canadensis var. hargeri )

Mountain Decumbent Goldenrod or Curtis' Goldenrod
( Solidago curtisii var. curtisii )

Curtis' Goldenrod Variation
( Solidago curtisii var. flaccidifolia )

Showy Goldenrod
( Solidago erecta )

Gorge Goldenrod
( Solidago faucibus )

Zigzag Goldenrod
( Solidago flexicaulis )

Giant Goldenrod
( Solidago gigantea )

Harris' Goldenrod
( Solidago harrisii )

Early Goldenrod
( Solidago juncea )

Gray Goldenrod
( Solidago nemoralis var. nemoralis )

Anise-scented Goldenrod or Sweet Goldenrod
( Solidago odora var. odora )

 Roundleaf Goldenrod
( Solidago patula var. patula )

Downy Goldenrod
( Solidago puberula )

Stiff Goldenrod
( Solidago rigida ssp. rigida )

Roan Mountain Goldenrod
( Solidago roanensis )

Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
( Solidago rugosa )

Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod Variation
( Solidago rugosa var. aspera )

Showy Goldenrod
( Solidago speciosa var. speciosa )

Autumn or False Goldenrod
( Solidago sphacelata )

Elm-leaf Goldenrod
( Solidago ulmifolia var. ulmifolia )

 Spiny Sowthistle
( Sonchus asper )

*Common Sowthistle
( Sonchus oleraceus )

Common Blue Wood Aster
( Symphyotrichum cordifolium )

Bushy Aster
( Symphyotrichum dumosum )

Smooth Blue Aster Variation
( Symphyotrichum laeve var. concinnum )

Smooth Blue Aster
( Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve )

White Panicle Aster
( Symphyotrichum lanceolatum )

White Panicle Aster Variation
( Symphyotrichum lanceolatum var. interior )

Calico or Goblet Aster
( Symphyotrichum lateriflorum )

Lowrie's Blue Wood Aster
( Symphyotrichum lowrieanum )

New England Aster ( Symphyotrichum novae-angliae )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Aromatic Aster
( Symphyotrichum oblongifolium )

Ontario Aster
( Symphyotrichum ontarionis )

Late Purple Aster ( Symphyotrichum patens )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Thinleaf Late Purple Aster
( Symphyotrichum phlogifolium )

Hairy White Oldfield Aster
( Symphyotrichum pilosum var. pilosum )

Pringle's Aster
( Symphyotrichum pilosum var. pringlei )

Barrens Silky Aster
( Symphyotrichum pratense )

Crookedstem Aster
( Symphyotrichum prenanthoides )

Purple-stem Aster
( Symphyotrichum puniceum var. puniceum )

Small-head Aster
( Symphyotrichum racemosum )

Wavyleaf Aster
( Symphyotrichum undulatum )

White Arrowleaf Aster
( Symphyotrichum urophyllum )

*Common Tansy
( Tanacetum vulgare )

Common Dandelion
( Taraxacum officinale )

Yellow Goats-beard
( Tragopogon dubius )

Jack-go-to-bed-at-Noon
( Tragopogon pratensis )

Coltsfoot
( Tussilago farfara )

Wingstem
( Verbesina alternifolia )

Yellow Crownbeard
( Verbesina occidentalis )

White Crownbeard
( Verbesina virginica )

Giant Ironweed
( Vernonia gigantea )

*New York Ironweed
( Vernonia noveboracensis )

Rough Cocklebur
( Xanthium strumarium )

Pink Thoroughwort is a very rare and imperiled species within Virginia, with a concentration amid the High Knob Landform and adjoining counties.

Rough-leaved Aster ( also called Low Rough Aster ) is extremely rare within Virginia, and endangered in Kentucky.

Creeping Aster is also listed as being extremely rare in Virginia, with a concentration within the High Knob Landform counties of Wise, Scott, and Lee.

Stiff Goldenrod is very rare in Virginia with documentation so far being only within counties of the High Knob Landform westward of the New River.

Yarrow-leaved Ragwort ( as noted above ) is both a global and state rarity, with Lee and Scott counties of the HKL being two of only nine counties within North America to be USDA listed for this species.

Pinnate-lobed Black-eyed Susan is an extremely rare, critically imperiled species in Virginia.  It is found only amid the great belt of calcareous cliffs ringing the High Knob Massif for 50+ air miles ( and one other location in Virginia ).

Prairie Rosinweed is also a species that is critically imperiled in Virginia, with Lee being the only county listed in the state ( several counties in the Tennessee end of the HKL are listed ).

Barrens Silky Aster is another species which is extremely rare in Virginia, and critically imperiled.  It is endemic to calcareous barrens in the HKL.

Many other Composite Family members are notable, such as Steele's Joe-pye Weed which is a true southern Appalachian endemic, with the halotype location being High Knob.

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied )].




Fumitory Family

( Dicentra canadensis ) and ( Dicentra cucullaria )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

The Fumitory Family is not complex in terms of having alot of members, in fact, it has very few species which are representative within Virginia in comparison to most floral families.

It is placed within this section since the members which are present are nothing less than magnificent!

Dutchman's Breeches ( Dicentra cucullaria )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Dutchman's Breeches is typically the first of the glorious Dicentra genus to become showy during early spring, with blooming amid the Powell Valley of the High Knob Landform during April-early May ( although, they are not yet officially listed by the Digital Atlas for Wise & Lee counties ).  

[ The specimen above was photographed by Richard Kretz in The Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve during early April.

Dutchman's Breeches and Squirrel Corn have both been well documented in Wise & Lee counties of the HKL ( exemplified by Harold Jerrell below ) ].

Squirrel Corn ( Dicentra canadensis )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Squirrel Corn blooms around the same time as Dutchman's Breeches within the great High Knob Landform, coming in perhaps a few days later on average than the little pants hanging upon the "clothes line" of the Dutchman. 

[ Squirrel Corn has not yet been officially listed for Wise, Scott, and Lee counties but has, as noted above, been locally identified and documented.  It is restricted to only a few known areas ].

Wild Bleeding Heart ( Dicentra eximia )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Wild Bleeding Heart is the third member of our beautiful Dicentra genus, with pink flowers and a little later blooming time. 

[ My nature journal records Wild Bleeding Heart as blooming in Powell Valley of Wise County on May 5 in 2000, along with the last of the Squirrel Corn ].

Although flowers are showy, it should be noted that all three of these Dicentra species are poisonous.  In fact, creatures as large as bulls and cows have been killed by eating their leaves during spring. Their extermination over time, within and along pasture lands, has likely contributed to these species being less abundant today.

Pale Corydalis ( Corydalis sempervirens )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Pale Corydalis is another outstanding wildflower which grows in the High Knob Landform, being clearly identified by its beautiful pink flowers with yellow ends!

Yellow Corydalis ( Corydalis flavula )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Yellow Corydalis also grows in the area, and has showy flowers which are completely yellow in color.

Climbing Fumitory ( Adlumia fungosa ) is a rare species of the mountain area which is considered to be endangered in Kentucky and highly threatened in Tennessee. 



Iris Family

Dwarf Crested Iris ( Iris cristata )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Dwarf Crested Iris is a common and beautiful spring wildflower that will shortly begin blooming across many lower elevations, if it is not already. Blooming will continue into May, especially within the higher elevations in rich woods.

The Dwarf Iris ( Iris verna var. smalliana ) is another species within the High Knob Landform that favors rocky woodlands.

The Yellow Flag Iris ( Iris pseudacorus ) is an introduced species that blooms along streams during May & June. It is considered to be a highly invasive, noxious weed.

Common Blue-eyed Grass ( Sisyrinchium angustifolium )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Common Blue-eyed Grass, also known as Narrowleaf, is again not actually a grass, but rather part of the Iris Family.

Blue-eyed grasses, like Yellow Stargrass, are often mistaken for grass until they erupt with gorgeous blooms!

Several additional species have been documented:

Eastern Blue-eyed Grass
( Sisyrinchium atlanticum )

White Blue-eyed Grass
( Sisyrinchium albidum )

Strict Blue-eyed Grass
( Sisyrinchium montanum )

Michaux's or Needletip Blue-eyed Grass
( Sisyrinchium mucronatum )

White Blue-eyed Grass is a rare species found only within the High Knob Landform counties of Lee & Scott, as well as Giles, in all of Virginia.


Lily Family

Large-flowered Trillium ( Trillium grandiflorum )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Large patches of Large-flowered Trillium will soon turn the woods white in portions of the High Knob Landform, with a notable and gradual change of the petals into various shades of pink with age.

Large-flowered Trillium ( Trillium grandiflorum ) Cluster
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Entire slopes covered by gorgeous, multi-colored Trilliums are a sight to behold!

Large-flowered Trillium ( Trillium grandiflorum )
 Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The Large-flowered, also called Great or White, Trillium makes an excellent subject in the light of morning, against lingering blackness, with Roddy photographing beautiful specimens on April 11.

Yellow Pollen - ( Trillium grandiflorum ) - April 11
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

A significant amount of pollen is visible from the two pairs of three yellow anthers.

Note Trillium lives up to its name with 3 sepals and 3 petals above a single whorl of 3 leaves to go along with its anther trios!

Red Trillium ( Trillium erectum )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Red Trillium, also called Wake Robin, is a species that looks so gorgeous but smells so very BAD!  Yes, indeed, this beauty smells like fetid, putrified meat ( at least, to many folks )!  

[ Other locally common names for this species include: Stinking Willie & Stinking Benjamin ].

Again, there is much more than meets the eye with Trilliums, and it has nothing to do with some of their stinking kin!

Wake Robin can take on various colorations, so that the name Red Trillium might not be the best ( but often tends to be the most common color form ).

Mountain Red Trillium ( Trillium sulcatum )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Mountain Red Trillium, also called Furrowed Wake Robin, is a species only recognized in recent decades and tends to be a higher elevation variety associated with Southern Appalachain Northern Hardwoods & High Elevation Cove Forests ( as well as the fingers of Mixed-Meosphytic Northern Hardwoods that I locally associate with cold air drainages in the massif ).

Complications again arise with white forms of Furrowed Wake Robin, such that it can often be difficult to distinguish from white morphs of the Wake Robin ( Trillium erectum ).

[ In an idealistic situation, the Red Trillium in Powell Valley would give way to the Mountain Red Trillium of the High Knob highcountry, ah, if only it could be that clearly defined! ].

Painted Trillium ( Trillium undulatum )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

The most gorgeous Painted Trillium of the High Knob highcountry is clearly distinguished as a lover of cool, mesic, upper elevations with an acidic soil tendency. 

[ The LIFE history of a Trillium is little known but fantastic, as attached to its seeds is a segment rich in oils which attracts ants.  Like the hard workers they are, the ants carry away the seeds, eat their oily segment, and leave the seeds in place to eventually germinate ( another wonderful example of dispersion for a species rooted in the ground, without legs or wings! ).

However, the germination process takes time, such that going from a mature, seed producing Trillium to a new plant which flowers may take 4 to 6 years ( under good conditions ).

One established individual Trilliums and their colonies can live for decades, if left undisturbed, and be dependably found in the same locations each year.  Thus, like the majestic Orchids, they should never be picked from the wild ].

Nodding Wakerobin Trillium ( Trillium flexipes ) is another local species possessing a midwestern floristic affinity, which has reached into western flanks of the Appalachians.

Sweet White Trillium ( Trillium simile )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Sweet White Trillium ( Trillium simile ) is perhaps the most controversial local species, with an apparently narrow elevation range ( 1500-2000 feet ) and difficult identity via tendency to hybridize ( will require more DNA work ).

False Solomon's Seal
( Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

False Solomon's Seal is a member of the Lily Family, like the Trilliums, and ironically is more common and showy in nature than what is called Solomon's Seal ( see below ).  It blooms from April into June with variations in elevation.

False Solomon's Seal
( Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum )
and Wild Geranium ( Geranium spp. )
 Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

False Solomon's Seal blooms around the same time as Wild Geraniums ( Geranium spp. ), well illustrated by Harold's gorgeous photograph above [ also visible in this scene are the unfurling fiddleheads of what is likely Christmas Fern ( Polystichum acrostichoides ), and the growing plants of Mayapple ( Podophyllum peltatum ) ].

Starry False Solomon's Seal ( Maianthemum stellatum ) is a species documented within Russell County that may also range into the High Knob Landform.

Canada Mayflower ( Maianthemum canadense )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Canada Mayflower ( Maianthemum canadense ) is a common mid to upper elevation species in the High Knob Massif and the third member of the Maianthemum genus within the richly diverse Upper Tennessee River Basin.

[ Canada Mayflower is a later blooming species that can often be found within the High Knob Massif during June & July ].

Solomon's Seal ( Polygonatum biflorum )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Solomon's Seal is a big plant which demands attention, growing up to 4 feet or more in length under ideal conditions, but is not nearly as showy as False Solomon's Seal.

The form ( Polygonatum biflorum var. biflorum ) grows in the High Knob Landform, with another variation 
( Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum ) known from upland habitats but in need of more study.

Spotted or Nodding Mandarin ( Prosartes maculata )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Spotted or Nodding Mandarin is a relatively rare species of moist slopes and coves across the High Knob Landform, which is at the center of its southern Appalachian stronghold as a limited range species.  It is also a member of the Lily Family.

Yellow Mandarin ( Prosartes lanuginosa ), also called Yellow Fairy Bells, is an upland species that possesses a much more widespread distribution.

Large-Flowered Bellwort ( Uvularia grandiflora )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Large-flowered Bellwort is a species favoring calcareous stratas of the High Knob Landform, and is most widespread within the karst belt of Virginia where it can find alkaline to neutral based soils.  It will grow in other locations, but does best within soils weathered from limestone or dolostone.

This is one of numerous Bellworts growing within the HKL, with a few other species including:

Perfoliate Bellwort
( Uvularia perfoliata )

Mountain Bellwort
( Uvularia puberula )

Sessileleaf Bellwort
( Uvularia sessilifolia )

Yellow Stargrass ( Hypoxis hirsuta )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Yellow Stargrass can often be found in woods and does not look like a wildflower at all, until it blooms!  It is part of the Lily Family as well.

In fact, there are MANY other members of the Lily Family which will be of special interest in coming weeks and months.

A few of particular interest include:

Lily of the Valley ( Convallaria majuscula )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Lily of the Valley is a beauty which blooms during late spring into early summer within the High Knob Landform & Upper Tennessee Basin.

Turk's Cap Lily ( Lilium superbum )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Turk's-cap Lily blooms within the High Knob highcountry during summer, with my nature journal recording mid-July for blooming at highest elevations ( transplanted species often bloom during June within Powell Valley of Wise County ). 

Canada Lily ( Lilium canadense var. canadense )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Canada Lily - Darker Phase
( Lilium canadense var. editorum )

Carolina Lily
( Lilium michauxii )

Wood Lily
( Lilium philadelphicum )

Speckled Wood Lily ( Clintonia umbellulata )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Mountain Deathcamas ( Anticlea elegans var. glaucus )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Mountain Deathcamas, also known as White Camas, is a rare plant documented within Wise, Scott, & Russell counties, as well as a few others within the Virginia karst belt.  It is a summer blooming species.

A few additional Lily Family species include:

White Colicroot ( Aletris farinosa )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

 Meadow or Wild Garlic
( Allium canadense var. canadense )

Nodding Onion
( Allium cernuum )

Ramp ( Allium tricoccum )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Narrowleaf Wild Ramp
( Allium tricoccum var. burdickii )

Wild Garlic
( Allium vineale )

Fly Poison
( Amianthium muscitoxicum )

Garden Asparagus
( Asparagus officinalis )

Wild Hyacinth ( Camassia scilloides )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Devil's Bit or Fairywand
( Chamaelirium luteum )

Yellow Trout Lily
( Erythronium americanum ssp. americanum )

White Trout Lily
( Erythronium umbilicatum ssp. umbilicatum )

Day Lily ( Hemerocallis fulva )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Indian Cucumber
( Medeola virginiana )

Poet's Narcissus
( Narcissus poeticus )

Easter Flower
( Narcissus pseudonarcissus )

Star of Bethlehem
( Ornithogalum umbellatum )

Hairy Solomon's Seal
( Polygonatum pubescens )

*Rosy Twisted-stalk ( Streptopus lanceolatus var. roseus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Small-flowered False Hellebore
( Veratrum parviflorum )

Green False Hellebore
( Veratrum viride var. viride )

[ *A possible to likely species within the High Knob Landform given its documentation within an adjoining county ( necessary since so much of the HKL has not been extensively studied )].




Orchid Family

Showy Orchis ( Galearis spectabilis )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Speaking of showy, the Showy Orchis is a southern Appalachian endemic species which also begins blooming within the High Knob Landform and Clinch River Valley during April into May.

Around three dozen species of orchids have been documented within this area, with variable blooming times during the year.

Documented Orchid Species:

Adam and Eve or Puttyroot Orchid
( Aplectrum hyemale )

Tuberous Grasspink Orchid ( Calopogon tuberosus )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

 Small Spreading Pogonia
( Cleistes bifaria )

Green Frog Orchid
( Coeloglossum viride )

Spotted Coralroot Orchid
( Corallorhiza maculata )

Autumn Coralroot Orchid
( Corallorhiza odontorhiza )

Spring Coralroot Orchid ( Corallorhiza wisteriana )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.


Pink Lady's Slipper ( Cypripedium acaule )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Lesser Yellow Lady's Slipper
( Cypripedium parviflorum )

Greater Yellow Lady's Slipper
( Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Downy Rattlesnake Plantain ( Goodyera pubescens )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Dwarf Rattlesnake Plantain
( Goodyera repens )

Spiked Crested Coralroot Orchid
( Hexalectris spicata )

Small Whorled Pogonia ( Isotria medeoloides )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Large Whorled Pogonia
( Isotria verticillata )

Lily-leaved Orchid
( Liparis liliifolia )

Bog Twayblade or Fen Orchid
( Liparis loeselii )

Appalachian Twayblade
( Listera smallii )

Green Adder's-Mouth Orchid
( Malaxis unifolia )

Yellow Fringed Orchid ( Platanthera ciliaris )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Small Green Wood Orchid ( Platanthera clavellata )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Yellow Crested Orchid
( Platanthera cristata )

Southern Tubercled Orchid
( Platanthera flava )

Northern Tubercled Orchid
( Platanthera flava var. herbiola )

*Greater Purple Fringed Orchid
( Platanthera grandiflora )

Green Fringed Orchid
( Platanthera lacera )

Lesser Roundleaved Orchid
( Platanthera orbiculata )

Purple Fringeless Orchid ( Platanthera peramoena )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Small Purple Fringed Orchid ( Platanthera psycodes )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

*Rose Pogonia Orchid
( Pogonia ophioglossoides )

Nodding Lady's Tresses ( Spiranthes cernua )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

 Northern Slender Lady's Tresses
( Spiranthes lacera )

Southern Slender Lady's Tresses
( Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

*Great Plains Lady's Tresses
( Spiranthes magnicamporum )

Yellow Nodding Lady's Tresses
( Spiranthes ochroleuca )

October or Oval Lady's Tresses
( Spiranthes ovalis var. erostellata )

Spring Lady's Tresses
( Spiranthes vernalis )

Nodding Pogonia ( Triphora trianthophora )
Photograph by Alan Cressler - © All Rights Reserved.

Crippled Cranefly Orchid
( Tipularia discolor ) .

( * ) Documented in either Dickenson and/or Russell counties.

Tuberosus Grass-pink Orchid is very rare and imperiled within Virginia, and one of numerous species of note.

Small Spreading Pogonia is also a very rare orchid in Virginia, being documented within the High Knob Massif and only three other counties in the state.

Small Whorled Pogonia is very rare on the global level, and is listed as Federally Threatened as well as State Endangered.  It has only been found within the High Knob Landform west of the New River ( i.e., officially documented ).

Bog Twayblade or Fen Orchid is also very rare within Virginia, with only the High Knob Massif being listed for it west of Mount Rogers.

Nodding Pogonia is extremely rare within Virginia, and is also a globally rare orchid.

Yellow Crested Orchid is not listed on the Digital Atlas west of the Virginia Coastal Plain, but has been documented within the Martins Fork Wild River Study Area of the High Knob Landform.

[ Yellow Crested Orchid is therefore considered to be a mountain disjunct in Virginia, where it is typically a coastal plain species ].

Rose Pogonia Orchid and the Great Plains Lady's Tresses are rare orchids which are possible within the High Knob Landform. 

NOTE: It is critically important that no orchid ever be removed from its habitat, since special symbiotic relationships between their roots and fungi are part 
of their life cycle.

Removing any orchid species from its natural environment often results in its death, since this special relationship is ended when someone digs up the orchid.

[ That is the reason so many Lady Slipper Orchids have been lost since people who dig them up, to take home, typically have them die! ].

Orchids are a very nice floral example of the great biodiversity of the High Knob Landform & Clinch Valley of the Upper Tennessee River Basin, and the adjoining Upper Cumberland Basin ( along the northwestern flank of the HKL ).

[ A combination of a diversely varied geology, topography, and climate has made this ancient mountain landscape a haven for varieties possessing northern, southern, & midwestern affinities.

During the course of millions of years this has allowed for the establishment of relics, limited range species, and for a general diversification of this wonderfully beautiful floral group.

One of many examples which could be cited to illustrate the great biodiversity of this landscape ].



Violet Family

Long-spurred Violet ( Viola rostrata )
Photograph by Wayne Browning - © All Rights Reserved.

Long-spurred Violet is a lovely native species currently in bloom, and unlike so many within the complex Viola genus is very easily identified by its upward curved, horn-shaped spurs.

Canada Violet ( Viola canadensis var. canadensis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Canada Violet is a lovely mid-upper elevation species to watch for in coming days and weeks across the High Knob Massif. It is common within woods of the cool, mesic northern slopes and high basins ( blooming late April into June ).

Sweet White Violet ( Viola blanda var. blanda )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Sweet White Violet is a species that tends to be associated with the endemic Southern Appalachian Northern Hardwoods of the massif.

Prostrate Blue Violet ( Viola walteri )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Prostrate Blue Violet ( Viola walteri ) is a very rare violet species that is mostly restricted to the Clinch River & New River basins within Virginia.

Alpine Violet ( Viola labradorica )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Alpine Violet is mostly a species of the far north and mountains, however, its been documented on the USDA database from Greenland all the way south to include one county in north Florida.

Violets are indeed a confusing group, with many more species likely living in the mountain area than have been documented.

[ My friend and naturalist Richard Kretz believes there could be as many as 70 different species within the area, with only time and detailed analysis telling from the dozens already found ].

A few additional violet species of interest within the High Knob Landform include:

Eastern Green Violet
( Hybanthus concolor )

Sand Violet
( Viola affinis )

Field Pansy Violet
( Viola bicolor )

Marsh Blue Violet
( Viola cucullata )

Arrowleaf Violet
( Viola fimbriatula )

Halberd-leaf Yellow Violet
( Viola hastata )

Southern Woodland Violet
( Viola hirsutula )

Smooth White Violet
( Viola macloskeyi ssp. pallens )

Early Blue Violet
( Viola palmata )

Bird's-foot Violet
( Viola pedata )

Primrose Violet
( Viola primulifolia )

Downy Yellow Violet
( Viola pubescens )

Roundleaf Violet
( Viola rotundifolia )

Arrowleaf Violet
( Viola sagittata )

Common Blue Violet
( Viola sororia )

Striped Cream Violet
( Viola striata )

Threepart Violet
( Viola tripartita ) .


A final member of the Buttercup Family,

Wild Columbine ( Aquilegia canadensis )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

The magnificent Wild Columbine is a species of the High Knob Landform that will bloom by late April into early May at lower elevations.

Wild Columbine has been locally verified as blooming within the High Knob Landform of Wise County, Virginia, but has not yet been officially listed for this county ].

Ruby-throated Hummingbird ( Archilochus colubris )
Photograph by Wayne Riner - © All Rights Reserved.

By the time Wild Columbine blooms, our favorite little flying machines will be on territory and more than ready to become their ace, number one pollinators, as they are best adapted to reach nectar stored high within their red spurs! 

Eastern Wild Turkey ( Meleagris gallopavo
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

In so many extraordinary ways, spring rebirth is a season of such grand colorations!

Not since the glorious autumn show, and perhaps not even then, have I done a HKL website update with so much COLOR.

A testimony to the true magnificence of SPRING amid the Southern Appalachians!

Arabesque Orb Weaver ( Neoscona arabesca )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Even what some might consider our "crawling nasties" have attractive color amid this new season of life!

Eastern Garter Snake ( Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

The Eastern Garter Snake is one of at least 17 different snake species documented across the High Knob Landform & Upper Tennessee Basin.

Southern Green Stink Bug ( Nezara viridula )
Photograph by Richard Kretz - © All Rights Reserved.

Much like Red Trillium ( Trillium erectum ), the Southern Green Stink Bug is "easy on the eyes," but not the nose if agitated.  Whew!

Scarlet Cup Fungi ( Sarcoscypha austriaca )
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

The brilliant Scarlet Cup is the fungi of color early in spring, as highlighted during the last update by Richard and now by Harold.

Although not nearly so beautiful, the next mushroom group is the one most hunted at this time of year.

Dry Land Fish ( Morchella esculenta
Photograph by Harold Jerrell - © All Rights Reserved.

Yellow Morel Mushrooms, known locally as Dry Land Fish for the way they taste when rolled in batter and fried, are a very much looked for treat during spring in the Appalachians. 

Black Morel ( Morchella elata ) and Half-free Morel ( Morchella semilibera ) mushrooms also grow in the High Knob Landform, but be wary of the False Morels of varies different species since they are poisonous! 

As should not need be stated, NEVER eat any mushroom unless you are 200+ percent certain its edible!

[ The following website discusses False Morels and many other Morel Mushroom facts:


Bradford Pear ( Pyrus calleryana )
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Bradford Pear is a favorite cultivated tree species that is planted for its outstanding spring & autumn displays.


Sweeping High Knob Landform Colors

Gazebo In Morning Light - April 7, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Most may only dream about what it might be like to greet a glorious dawn within the gazebo above, situated within a lush, green valley beneath rippling wave clouds illuminated by morning light of sunrise over the great spreading mass of the High Knob highcountry ( with birds singing & the fresh smells of spring )!

Reflections Upon A Valley Pond - April 7, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Once bright sunshine illuminated this great mountain landscape, the views were not bad either!

Majesty of Spring In The High Knob Landform
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The gorgeous scene above looks from the Valley floor, in the Cracker Neck section of Wise County, into the opening of South Fork Gorge of the High Knob Massif.

The beautiful view below looks at the other end of this great V-shaped Valley, from scenic Powell Valley Overlook.

Head of Powell Valley - April 9, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Clearing skies behind the passage of a cold front, which brought 1.00" of rain to Big Cherry Basin of the High Knob Massif, set the stage for a couple of frosty cold nights ( with hard freezes ). 

Morning Minimum - April 10
City of Norton: 26.7 degrees
Clintwood: 29.1 degrees

Morning Minimum - April 11
City of Norton: 29.8 degrees
Clintwood: 30.5 degrees

Temperatures dipped into low-mid 20s within cold air pockets of the High Knob Massif, with a hard freeze also occurring amid the Norton to Coeburn valley corridor as cold air drained down out of the sprawling highcountry.

With dry air aloft, temps were plunging again in mountain valleys into early hours of April 12, with 35 to 40 degrees in colder locales by 1-2 AM.

Morning Minimum - April 12
City of Norton: 33.6 degrees
Clintwood: 34.8 degrees

Morning mins into dawn on April 12 reached 30 to 35 degrees within colder mountain valleys, with frost formation again from the Norton-Coeburn Valley ( generally light ) into higher basins of the High Knob Massif ( where spring rebirth has been relatively limited by cold March-April nights ).

Morning Minimum - April 13
City of Norton: 36.7 degrees
Clintwood: 37.7 degrees

Amid continued dry air, AM mins into April 13 dipped into lower-middle 30s in colder mountain valleys within & adjacent to the High Knob Massif ( illustrating the true nature of spring time in high mountain basins ).

Powell Valley - Lower Elevations - April 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The lower elevations of Powell Valley, just above 1600 feet, have taken on colorations reminiscent of autumn as a diverse mixture of many tree species emerge from winter dormancy.

This is in contrast to limited emergence in trees above 3000 feet, as cold nights have dominated mid-upper elevation valleys & basins for seven consecutive days.

Morning Minimum - April 14
City of Norton: 39.7 degrees
Clintwood: 40.4 degrees

Morning Minimum - April 15
City of Norton: 39.0 degrees
Clintwood: 40.1 degrees

Morning minimums of 35 to 40 degrees were common within colder mountain valleys of the High Knob highcountry during April 14-15, to generate an interesting 7 day period with much above average temps by day and nights as cold as 30 to 35 degrees ( in the mean, several degrees lower than in Norton within colder locations of the High Knob highcountry ).

Average Nightly Mins for April 9-15
City of Norton: 32.6 degrees
Clintwood: 33.9 degrees


Powell Valley Overlook - April 9, 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

The blueness of mountain walls against the greening Valley, with lingering patches of golden sage grass, never fails to be stunningly beautiful beneath azure skies & fair-weather cumulus!


Update - April 20, 2010

More frosty mornings greeted the dawn during April 18-19, with specific mins including:

Morning Minimum - April 18
City of Norton: 29.8 degrees
Clintwood: 30.7 degrees

Morning Minimum - April 19
City of Norton: 29.0 degrees
Clintwood: 30.1 degrees

Minimums as cold as lower-middle 20s occurred within the lofty mountain basins of the High Knob highcountry, with a prolonged period of below freezing conditions ( 6-10+ hours ).

Mean temperatures during the first 20 days of April have varied wildly between morning & night, with 35 to 40+ degree spreads being common in mountain valleys.

Average MAX During April 1-20
City of Norton: 71.8 degrees
Clintwood: 76.4 degrees

Average MIN During April 1-20
City of Norton: 36.6 degrees
Clintwood: 36.2 degrees

MEAN Temperatures April 1-20
City of Norton: 54.2 degrees
Clintwood: 56.3 degrees

Mean daily temps within the High Knob Massif have varied from 60s to around 70 degrees by day to chilly 30s at night ( low-mid 30s in colder valleys above 2300 feet ). 

It is interesting to note that in the region mean daily maxs at the following locations were all within the lower to middle 70s, much like the differences observed between Norton-Wise and Clintwood, during the April 1-20 period.

Average MAX During April 1-20
Jackson, KY: 76.4 degrees
Knoxville, TN: 76.5 degrees
Oak Ridge, TN: 77.6 degrees
Lexington, KY: 73.3 degrees
London, KY: 75.7 degrees
Tri-Cities, TN: 75.6 degrees

Although mid-upper elevations, above the level of Norton, were generally 5 to 15 degrees cooler by day than the above sites, the greatest differences occurred at night amid lofty mountain basins ( within the 2400 to 3600 foot elevation zone ).

Average MIN During April 1-20
Jackson, KY: 52.0 degrees
Knoxville, TN: 49.0 degrees
Oak Ridge, TN: 48.0 degrees
Lexington, KY: 47.4 degrees
London, KY: 45.4 degrees
Tri-Cities, TN: 43.0 degrees

[ Out of all of the above sites, only Lexington, Ky., reached 32 degrees during the recent cold spell ].

Lofty highcountry basins & cold air drainage corridors within and adjacent to the High Knob Massif, from the Norton-Coeburn Valley up into the high terrain, had average MINS which were some 10 to 20 degrees colder than these regional sites listed above during the April 1-20 period.

A simply HUGE difference in nocturnal coldness!

[ The least difference was between the Norton Valley, and locations like Clintwood, verses the Tri-Cities recording site where nocturnal cold air drainage and pooling is also a factor ].

Such differences as noted above illustrate the major forces ( climatic ) at work behind variations in spring renewal which are so visually dramatic between the foothills, Great Valley, and higher mountain locations during this time each year!

Glorious Powell Valley Overlook - April 2010
Photograph by Roddy Addington - © All Rights Reserved.

Jimmy Fawbush captured a magnificent sunset, after a few hours of trout fishing at Norton's Upper Reservoir, when he stopped at majestic Flag Rock Recreation Area.

Upper Campground - Flag Rock Recreation Area
Photograph by Jimmy Fawbush - © All Rights Reserved.

Wow, that's a nice way to close out this update!

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