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Exploring the Spring Colors in the Gorge

Spring is just arriving and it will soon turn the vast outdoor landscape of the New River Gorge into a rainbow of vibrant color. Florals will be blooming in every shade of the rainbow, stretching out their bright petals to show off for the bees and other pollinators. Here are a few examples of the wide range of color you can find here in the spring.

A Wake Robin flower in the New River Gorge

Red – Wake-Robin – This robin-breast-red or burgundy trillium has three colored petals, with long, pointed leaves stemming out from behind. They’re beautiful to look at, but because they’re pollinated by flies, they also smell repugnant, earning them the alternative nickname of “stinking Benjamin.”

Orange – Jewelweed – In the morning, dew droplets linger on the leaves and trumpeted orange petals of the jewelweed, which doesn’t absorb it, giving the shimmering appearance it’s named for. Later in the summer, a second flower pod on these tall herbs explodes to catapult seeds when touched, so you might hear them called touch-me-nots.

Yellow – Black-Eyed Susan – These vibrant golden flowers resemble daisies, with a bold hue on its long, rounded petals and a dark, black center, a lot like the doodles on your high school notebooks. It’s a perfect example of the basic beauty of flowers. It’s also notable because its leaves and stems are fuzzy or bristly to deter ants from the flower.

Green – Trust us, you won’t miss the green trees, shrubs and other plants! From the top of the mighty hemlocks, down the streaming branches of the willows, to the full bustles of the bushes and on down to the grasses and leaves below your feet, the gorge will be bursting with every shade of green.

Blue – Wild Blue Phlox – Ranging from cerulean blues to pale lavender colors, the wild blue phlox pops up in clusters around the Gorge. Its 5 petals stretch out from a thin center and spread far apart, almost looking like they’re each reaching away. They have a light sweet smell and a mildly sticky stem.

Purple – Catawba Rhododendron – The state flower is the rhododendron, and though it has several varieties, one of the most popular is the lightly purple Catawba shrub. The petals can be patterned with spots or streaks. You can see them by the hundreds, dotting the New River Gorge. Grandview provides a stunning panorama view of the Catawbas and other West Virginia wildflowers blooming along the river and mountainsides in the spring.

To see a list of some of the New River Gorge wildflower species, check the website

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