Plant Life

close up of sunflower
Sunflowers offer beauty and nutrition from a single flower. They grace the yards of neighborhood gardeners and grow wild in mountain fields. They adorn everything from shower curtains to summer dresses. They usually evoke big smiles. And in 1987, an anonymous buyer forked over more than $39 million for a Vincent van Gogh painting of them. Of course, we’re talking about sunflowers.
Tried and true folk remedies Early Appalachian settlers didn’t have access to health care. The nearest town with a real doctor might be days away, so they had to rely on themselves and whatever nature provided. As a result, they learned to make use of the natural medicines they found around them: roots, leaves, bark, flowers, fruit and seeds made into salves and tinctures. Even today, many Appalachian natives prefer to administer their own remedies rather than trust a doctor’s care.
A boon and a bane both Madison County, North Carolina, sits in the northwest corner of the state. Its northern borders trace across the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with Tennessee on the other side. It’s a rural area, for the most part, as Marshall and Mars Hill are its biggest towns. But Madison County is famous for its ginseng.

Whether you plant them yourself or not, the wildflowers of the Appalachians give visitors and natives alike a glorious beckoning of warmer, brighter days to come. Enjoy viewing these buds as they bloom around the mountains in the earliest parts of spring:


When the pilgrims landed in Massachusetts in late December 1620, one of the first things they saw reminded them of home — the American holly tree.
Bittersweet is a woody vine that produces berries in a yellow casing that open up to reveal red berries in the fall.

Queen Anne’s Lace is a flower found all over the Appalachians. You’ll see them driving to work along the roadsides and in your neighbor’s flower gardens. Queen Anne’s Lace, also called “Wild Carrot,” is a common plant found abundantly in dry fields, ditches, and open areas. The crocheted doily-looking plant was first introduced into the U.S. from Europe. The carrots you eat today once were cultivated from this plant.

But the Queen has her downside. She harbors tiny pests called chiggers.

Pesky Little Pests