Before I get started on the plants, I'd like to remark on what an amazing service the people here at Moonshine Creek Campground have been. They picked me up at the trailhead (thank you Betty and Butch), allowed me to check in hours early, provided me with a cozy clean cabin, clean restrooms with hot water, assisted me in mailing home some unneeded (and too heavy gear), and hooked me up with a ride into town(thank you Logan for finding me some friendly folks) and thank you Vicky and Chris from South Carolina for being those friendly folks. I have not gotten the owner's name yet, but a big thank you to you to for providing such a pleasant place to roll off the trail and chat with some good people.
So let me highlight some plants for you now that I am hooked up, drying out, and enjoying sitting in a tiny 12x12ft cabin with a bed and electricity!
So one of the first plants to steal the show was Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana). This plant abundant the first two days on the trail, while I was in the Smokies. It seemed to flourish on sunny slopes in the woods, as well as along sun dappled edges of trail.
Notice the 5 petaled regular flower, colored white-pink and striped with vivid pink lines. We know this is a Carolina Spring Beauty and not simply a Spring Beauty (C.virginica) because it's leaves are long stalked and more of an oval or rounded shaped, whereas C.virginica has long narrow leaves. As I said, the entire plant is edible- the above ground parts (stem, flower, leaves) as a salad fixin' or on a sandwich, as well as the root or more accuratly the corm (a corm is a short underground enlarged plant stem that the plant uses for nutrient storage, roots grow from the corm). These corms can be prepared like a potato would be. Pick these beauties mindfully.
Oh! And the Trilliums. So many trilliums. They like the dark moist woods and I've seen them growing streamside, speckling deep woods and spreading out over entire slopes beside the parkway. Below are pics of those I've seen the most, as well as a nodding red one. Perhaps someone here can tell me- is this simply Wake Robin or Large Flowering at a later stage? Trilliums are part of the Lily Family (Liliaceae) and have 3 whorled entire leaves that encircle the top of the stalk. Flowers can be long, short stalked, or stalkless. However, these are all long stalked. I have no experience with Trillium as a medicine, since it is a plant that has been overharvested in the past and is best one to leave be, but it does have a long history of various uses. The root has acrid, astringent, and antiseptic properties, good for producing heat and tightening tissue, and discouraging infection. It has been used for everything from easing childbirth to decreasing hemorrhage and mucous discharge. Two traditional interesting preperations I found were to boil the root in milk (don't know proportions) for diarrhea and dysentery; another was to boil the leaves in lard and apply to ulcers and tumors.
|Wake Robin Trillim (Trillium erectum)|
|Painted Trillium (T.undulatum)|
|Miami Mist (Phacelia purshii)|
|Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea)|
That's all for tonight, signing off from Jack Daniels Cabin #2 (yes, that is the actual name of this cabin!)