Red Flowers of Little River Canyon National Preserve

Jacksonville State University's Little River Canyon Center

This exhibit provides a sample of the more attractive red flowering plants that can be found in 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".

Red Buckeye is a small tree or bush that flowers in April and May. It grows in rich moist soils of deciduous forests and along stream-banks. The seedpod is often considered lucky and is carried by many people for good luck.

Columbine is a perennial herb that flowers from March to May. The flower contains five yellow petals with red spurs and is usually found in dry woods. The flower is pollinated by hummingbirds.

Mimosa is a non-native tree that produces pink flowers that appear from May to August. It is considered an invasive species in the United States and can be found in a wide variey of habitats that receive sunlight. The tree is allelopathic, and produces biochemicals that inhibit other plants from encroaching and competing with the tree's survival. Mimosa is particularly attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Butterfly Weed usually grows along roadsides and open areas. A mutual beneficial relationship exists between the Monarch Butterfly and Butterfly Weed. The butterfly pollinates the plant and passes on a cardiac glycoside to the butterfly that causes nausea and vomiting to any birds that consume the butterfly. Birds quickly learn to avoid eating the Monarch, enhancing the butterfly's survival.

Cross-vine is a perennial vine that flowers in April and May. It is usually found in moist woods and barrens. The bell-shaped flower is dark red on the outside with five flaring yellow lobes.

Sweet Shrub is a deciduous shrub with aromatic leaves and maroon flowers. It is usually found growing along stream-banks, hillsides and moist woods. A tea made from the roots and bark was used as a medicine by Native Americans.

Trumpet Creeper is a perennial vine that flowers during June and July. The red to orange flowers are trumpet shaped and commonly frequented by hummingbirds. The vine can be found in woodlands, waste areas and along fencerows

Redbud is a small tree that produces pink flowers before leaves appear on the tree. It grows in a wide variety of habitats that include stream sides, bottomlands and drier slopes. It is often very common over areas with calcareous soils.

White Turtlehead produces dull white flowers with pink tips. The two-lipped corolla forming the flower resembles a turtle's head. The plant can be found in moist areas and along streams. Both Native Americans and early pioneers used this plant as a medicine.

Virginia Spring Beauty flowers in early spring from February to April. It produces white to pinkish flowers with noticeable pink veins. Habitat includes forests, lawns and roadsides. It is also commonly know as Wild Potato with the corms being collected and boiled in salt-water, tasting much like chestnuts

Northern Leather Flower is a perennial vine producing leathery red, urn-shaped flowers from May to September. It is commonly found in wet woods and along roadsides

Pink Lady's Slipper is an attractive orchid that flowers from April to May. It is often found in acidic mixed pine and deciduous forests, and on lands recovering from logging and fire. It has been used as a sedative to treat nerves and depression.

Hollow Stem Joe-pye Weed flowers from July and October producing large, dense, rounded pink to purple flowering heads. The rather tall plant can reach a height of seven feet. It was widely used by pioneers as a medicine to treat kidney stones and fever.

Orange Jewelweed produces an orange-yellow flower from May to November. The plant is found in wet woods, roadsides, streambanks and swamps. The seed has evolved an interesting seed dispersal technique where mature capsules explode elastically into five coiled sections, rocketing the seed to more distant areas. The juice from crushed leaves and stems is also used as a poultice to treat poison ivy.

Small-head Blazing Star produces lavender flowers from August to October. This plant has adapted to the extreme environment of sandstone outcrops on the Preserve, and is a characteristic plant of this rare plant community. Butterflies actively visit this plant during summer and fall months. The corms of this plant were also used as winter food by Native Americans.

Scaly Blazing Star produces pink to purple flowers from July to August. It is usually found in open woods and barren lands.
During historic times, blazing stars were major components of now vanished prairies. These species can be viewed as remnants of a previously more dominant prairie communities across the region.

Carolina Lily produces one to two nodding orange to red flowers on two to four foot erect stems. The flowers appear during July and August. This lily is found in dry to moist woodlands and thickets.

Wild Bergamot produces a pale to bright lavender flower from June to September. This aromatic mint can be found in dry clearings and woodland borders. Wild Bergamot is widely use as a tea for drinking. It also has been used to treat pain in the stomach and intestines

Smooth Phlox produces red-purple to pinkish flowers that appear between April and June. The plant is most commonly found in wet woods and barren areas. The attractive flowers of this fragrant phlox are particularly attractive to hummingbirds.

Downy Phlox is covered by long soft hairs and flowers between April and May. It is generally widespread across dry upland forests, prairies and roadsides in northern Alabama. The crushed leaves have been used as a medicine to treat stomachaches, sore eyes, skin eyes and as a laxative.

Southern Obedient Plant produces bright pink flowers with purple lines from July to October. The plant is commonly found in open, moist areas. When the position of the flowers along the stem is changed, they remain obedient to the new position.

Yellow Fringed Orchid is a beautiful orchid that produces bright orange flowers with long fringes extending from the lip petal. It flowers from July to September and is found in a variety of habitats, including fields, meadows and open woods. Native Americans made tea from the roots for treating headaches and diarrhea.

Appalachian Milkwort produces a pinkish flower that appears between June and October. It is usually found in marshes and meadows. Milkworts were once believed to increase the secretion of milk of nursing mothers and livestock.

Common Smartweed produces a pink flower that appears between July and September. The plant grows in damp soils, along roadsides and in waste lands. Native Americans used Common Smartweed to treat diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems.

Maryland Meadow-beauty produces a pale pink flower with prominent curved yellow anthers between May and October. the plant is usually found in wet marshes and fields.

Alabama Azalea produces white flowers during March and April. This Rhododendron is restricted to the deep South and is often found on moist slopes, bluffs and along streambanks.

Pink Laurel is a leathery evergreen shrub with large showy clusters of purplish flowers that appear from April to June. Pink Laurel is a featured tourist attraction in the Southern Appalachian Mountains during spring Rhododendron blooms. This shrub can be found along ridges, bluffs and on moist rocky slopes.

Climbing Prairie Rose produces rich pink flowers from May to June. This rose is often found growing in open woods, thickets and clearings. The flower petals are often added to salads, beverages and desserts.

Common Rose Pink produces a pink flower with a distinctive greenish center that appears from July to August. It is often found along roadsides and in both moist and dry open areas. Rose Pink has been prescribed for yellow fever, stomachaches, nausea and other medical problems.

Cumberland Rose Gentian produces a pink flower that appears during July and August. It is usually found in forest openings, roadsides and meadows along sandstone ridges. This is a relatively uncommon species of Sabatia

Sensitive Brier is a trailing perennial with tiny pink to purple flowers in round puff-shaped clusters. They bloom from June to September, and usually grow in dry open areas. Sensitive Brier gets its name from its leaves, which rapidly fold up when touched.

Fire-pink produces a scarlet red flower that appears from April to July. It is often found in open woods and along rocky slopes. Fire-pink is a favorite nectar plant of hummingbirds.

Indian Pink produces a tubular flower with scarlet on the outside and greenish yellow inside. It flowers from May to June, and usually grows in rich moist forests. Indian Pink contains a poisonous alkaloid that historically has been used as a vermifuge or worm expellant

Menge's Fameflower produces a rose red flower that appears between May and September. This plant is restricted to sandstone outcrops on the Preserve. It is able to survive in this extreme environment by storing water in its' succulent leaves and by opening its' flowers only for a few hours in bright sunlight each day.

Goat's Rue produces a cream colored flower with pink wings that appears during May and June. The plant is usually found in open woods and fields. It gets its' name, Goat's Rue, because the plant smells like a goat. Rotenone, an insecticide used to stun fish, is derived from the plant's roots

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Constructed, written and photography by Bill Garland

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