BW Wells - header


Spring and Early Summer

"In early May some elite floral personages appear, and it must be remarked that for such aristocrats of the plant society as these, they appear in very large numbers indeed."

B. W. Wells
The Natural Gardens of North Carolina; with Keys and Descriptions of the Herbaceous Wild Flowers Found Therein

Large snake-mouth orchid
Cleistes divaricata (L.) Ames

"A few large-flowered pogonias may be seen on the savannah margin where they surprise one with the unusual length of the lip, and the long waving narrow petals."

Giant ladies' tresses
Spiranthes praecox (Walt.) S. Watson

"Down amid the luxuriant grass, the tiny cream colored spirals of a small lady's tresses may be found."

Large-flowered grass pink
Calopogon tuberosus (L.) B. S. P. var. tuberosus

"But most prominent of all is the queenly large-flowered grass pink, an orchid which would attract attention in a Fifth Avenue flower shop. Varying from deep rose to purest white with a patch of yellow in the erect lip, they constitute one of the finest wild flowers of the entire country."

Red hot poker
Polygala lutea

Branched yellow milkwort
Polygala ramosa Ell.

"Whole troops of the early orange polygala, or red hot poker, begin to crowd in on the margins, soon followed by the flat-topped or branching polygala of a lemon-yellow color."

Yellow star grass
Hypoxis hirsuta (L.) Coville

"Yellow star grass seen everywhere. By this time many grasses and sedges come into flower, adding a minor note to the colorful ensemble."

Pipe-worts or Hatpins
Eriocaulon or Lachnocaulon sp.

Rough-stemmed bunch flower
Triantha racemosa (Walt.) Small

"With June come the pipe-worts, small and large ones, appearing like magnified hat pins stuck in pin cushions. The modest bunch flower may now be seen everywhere."

Savannah meadow beauty
Rhexia alifanus Walt.

"But the great event which July brings in her train is the coming in of the meadow-beauties, two or three species of them. The largest is a tall herb with a rose-colored flower measuring two to two and one-half inches across. One easily forgets the fierce shimmering heat of the midsummer savannah while he walks amid the innumerable splashes of light purple made by these large meadow-beauties."

Marsh rose-gentian
Sabatia dodecandra (L.) B. S. P.

"Any day now the exquisite eight or ten-petaled sabbatia may be met. In this flower we have undoubtedly one of nature's sports or mutations, for the ordinary number of petals in the genus Sabbatia is four or five. At some time in the distant past a branch of the Sabbatia group was started with double the number of floral organs. And fortunate it was, for, without question, these showy larger flowers with their delicate rose-tinted petals are one of the very finest products of this natural garden."

Whitetop sedge
Rhynchospora latifolia (Baldw. ex Ell.) Thomas

"Here and there in patches are regiments of white-topped sedges, the pure white bracts of which so perfectly simulate flowers that every non- botanical person would declare they were the showiest of blossoms."

Foxtail clubmoss
Lycopodiella alopecuroides (L.) Cranfill

"And everywhere now, down in the grass, the curious light green fine-leaved running pine is creeping and branching, furnishing an excellent 'filler' for a June bouquet."

Savannah lily
Lilium catesbaei Walt. var. longii Fern.

"The savannah lilies silently take their place at well scattered stations, there to spread their slender spotted orange petals to the shining skies. One flower or sometimes two are borne erect on the tip of the stalk. They stand well apart like sentinels or, shall we say, traffic cops, in the great flower parade."

back to top