This exhibit provides a sample of the more attractive blue flowering plants that have been recorded on Little River Canyon National Preserve. A more complete display of all flowering plants photographed for the Preserve is provided in the complete exhibit of "Plants of Little River Canyon National Preserve".
Spring Coralroot is an orchid that produces flowers appearing in April and May. This orchid can be found growing in moist woods, rich ravines and slopes, swamps and along stream margins. Coralroot is considered a saprophyte that obtains nutrients indirectly from decaying organic material in the soil.
Soapwort Gentian produces bright blue flowers that appear from September to November. The plant grows in wet meadows, roadsides and along streambanks. Bumblebees pollinating this plant often resort to chewing a hole through the flower side in pursuit of nectar. Many beverages are made from gentian root.
Chinaberry is a non-native, invasive tree that produces lavender flowers that appear during April and May. The are found in a wide range of habitats, particularly along roadsides and disturbed lands. The fruits of Chinaberry are poisonous to humans when eaten. The leaves have been used as a natural insecticide to keep with stored food.
Self-heal is a non-native plant that produces purplish flowers from April to December. This plant is widespread across disturbed soils. As the name Self-heal suggests, this plant has a long history of medicinal uses. Tea made from the leaves has been used to treat sore throat, mouth sores, fevers and diarrhea. Externally, it has been used to treat wounds, bruises, sores and ulcers. Self-heal contains antibiotic, anti-tumor and hypertensive compounds.
Lyreleaf Sage produces pale blue flowers that appear during April and May. They can be found growing in dry open woods, clearings, sandy meadows and fields. Lyreleaf Sage was made into a salve that was considered a cure for warts and cancer. The leaves and seeds were made into an ointment used to cure wounds and sores.
Common Vetch produces rose to purple flowers that appear from March to June. This non-native plant is found growing along roadsides and fields. Common Vetch has been part of the human diet since prehistoric times. The remains of this plant has been found in Neolithic sites, ancient Egypt and Bronze Age excavations.
Constructed, written and photography by Bill Garland, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama