Wildflowers found throughout Canaan Valley

5 Plants You’ll See Everywhere in the Canaan Valley by David Wheeler

There are plenty of aspects of nature to enjoy in Canaan Valley, West Virginia. Visitors will enjoy the beautiful landscapes as well as many native species of plants, shrubs, and trees that add to the area landscape. The mixture of high elevation along with wetland and upland forest provides the environment to sustain many plant species including some important rare plants as well. Look out for these common plants in the Canaan Valley on your next visit:

1. Rosebay Rhododendron

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This evergreen shrub offers blooms that are a slight purple color and can also be white or pink. The broad leaves offer the perfect background for the small blooms that appear from June to July. Rosebay Rhododendrons are larger shrubs that can get up to 15 feet high and 12 feet wide depending on their location. They prefer to grow in cool and moist soil conditions generally stay in shaded areas. Good drainage is important for these plants but it will quickly die if the roots dry out.

2. Flame Azalea

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The beautiful flowers of this deciduous shrub are easy to spot with green summer blooms that turn yellow or scarlet red in the fall. The flowers are non-fragrant and are tubular in shape. The flowers are clustered in groups of 5 or more making this a stunning plant to spot especially during the fall season in Canaan Valley. The Flame Azalea can grow up to 12 feet tall and wide and does best in acidic soil.

3. Huckleberry

Known for growing at higher elevations, the huckleberry is a unique plant that is known for its small and sweet blueberry-like fruit. The fruit can be either red, blue, or black in color and usually are ready to pick in the late summertime. Huckleberries are edible but there are a few different variations of the plant that can range in appearance. Those visiting the Canaan Valley should be extra careful about berry picking as some berries are not edible. Also, you’ll notice that huckleberry plants are visited by birds and animals to enjoy its delicious fruit. Huckleberry plants don’t grow very large and are usually found on the slopes of areas that are hard to get to.

4. Shriver’s Frilly Orchid

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This gorgeous flower is considered a rare species that is stated as globally critically imperiled. It is found in the Appalachian region and has been historically spotted from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. Shriver’s Frilly Orchid has an open shape with petals that have fringed edges. Light purple blooms appear in mid-July to early August and enjoy frequent visitors from pollinators like butterflies, skippers, and moths. Pipevine swallowtails pollinate the Shriver’s Frilly Orchid as well.

5. Blue Ridge St. Johnswort

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This rare wildflower is considered to be a globally vulnerable shrub species as it makes its home in the Canaan Valley. Blue Ridge St. Johnswort is a perennial that grows to about 2 feet high. It produces orange and yellow blooms in July and August and oftentimes the petals have a spotted or streaked complexion. The one inch oval leaves of the plant have a waxy texture and the blooms are quite small with just 5 petals and clustered together at the top of the stem. Blue Ridge St. Johnswort likes to grow among rocks in high elevations. It is not believed that bees pollinate this plant with its bright blooms although the plant produces no nectar. Much of these plants are protected given their rugged habitat and inaccessibility to trampling opportunities.

The Canaan Valley offers many opportunities to view the wide variety of wildlife and plant variations that make the valley so beautiful. Make sure to look out for these popular, including somewhat rare, plants you’ll see everywhere in the Canaan Valley. Thinking about moving here? Native plants can be an excellent addition to your landscape or even a substitute for the lawn itself.

David Wheeler is a landscape design writer and nature enthusiast. He is an avid traveller and loves to spend his time hiking and strolling through magnificent gardens, learning about rare and native flowers across the world.