Bluebell Island…some botanical treasures

The South Cumberland Regional Land Trust trip to Bluebell Island today was a great success. The bluebells are just opening up. A few are in full bloom. The next week promises a fine display.

Some favorite species:

Two rare dwarf trillium were in bloom:

...only ones know to exist anywhere around here.

…these two plants are the only ones known to exist anywhere around here.

Delicious blooms.

Delicious blooms. Pollinators, do your work. Seeds needed.

Also present were both white and yellow trout lilies, growing side by side. Genetic incompatibility keeps them from interbreeding, even if pollen gets mixed up by the work of insouciant bees.

White trout lily: Erythronium albidum

White trout lily: Erythronium albidum

Yellow trout lily: Erythronium americanum

Yellow trout lily: Erythronium americanum

Thank you, South Cumberland Regional Land Trust, for keeping this botanical treasure thriving.

19 thoughts on “Bluebell Island…some botanical treasures

  1. Mollie Babize

    Thank you for teasing us Northerners with a taste of spring as we await the thaw that will diminish that foot of remaining snow here in Western MA!

  2. Mary Young

    Impatiently awaiting the beautiful spring blooms up here in chilly northern Ohio! Thanks for reminding us of what will eventually come our way.

  3. Larry Brasher

    I’ve never seen white and yellow trout lilies side-by-side before! Our Trillium decumbens flowers are just starting to open here in north Alabama. In the 1930s, my grandfather referred to them in a journal editorial as “the purple lilies all wildly profuse through the woods.”

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Larry, On the mountain here the trout lilies are not yet in bloom, but the island is a little warmer. It is indeed curious to see these two types intermingled in one patch. I hope your lily bloom is spectacular — wildly profuse — this year!

  4. Ann

    Mr. Haskell, this looks like something I would truly like to see. Were there lots of flowers? We missed the 4th Saturday in March hike. Would it be possible for my husband, perhaps my daughter and me to do this without a guide maybe this weekend? Is it an area that the public is allowed to visit? Do you feel that we could find it fairly easily? Thank you so very much. Ann Waddey

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Yes, visitors are welcome. Park on the grass off to the side of the Tyson driveway (not inside their fence) and walk along the side of the river fo 10-15 mins. There is a series of fallen logs that you can walk across to get to the island. Paste 35.288702, -85.914987 into to get the parking area. The island is downstream.

  5. Scott

    I’m surprised deer haven’t found the trilliums. They’d be “goners” here in my northern Piedmont preserve.

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      The flowers are protected by the river on all sides (hard to cross) and by heavy hunting pressure. Cows are the main herbivores to worry about. The whole rest of the riverside has been cleaned out by them.

  6. Jonathan Hughes

    Hi David,
    I remember Dr. Ramseur taking me on a class field trip to Bluebell Island, but I can’t remember which course it was — I must have taken all of his. Thank you for the great photos and blog.
    Jonathan (C’89, Dept. of Forestry and Geology)

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Thank you — glad you like the blog! This is a favorite field trip spot. I always find an excuse to bring classes down during the spring bloom. The riparian biology is quite different from what we find on the mountain, so it makes a nice contrast.

  7. johnsalmond

    I am enjoying your blog. As enriching as The Forest Unseen (a book we should all resolve to give our friends). Just now I visited the Cudzoo Farm link, and there were bunnies and the greatest scene-stealers in the known universe – BABY GOATS. Just as well they are fenced off on another site!!

    For those slow on the uptake like me,
    See March 26 vid and March 31

    This wonderfull world we must not destroy by in a fit of absence of mind releasing the genie locked up by immense eons of geology


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