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My favorite, however, is the Stuart Forest Drive which leaves U. In many places this Forest Service road was cut through magnificent rhododendron stands. At higher elevations mountain laurel, one of our finest heaths, should be at its best. Of all our native trees, American mountain ash, a member of the rose family, bears the showiest fruits.

Look also for clumps of wild bleeding-heart and the snow-white clustered blossoms of alder-leaved viburmum.

Blueberries have a great many small seeds, so tiny that you will scarcely realize you are eating any. Dolly Sods is good, so are areas along U. Route on the mountain slope above Durbin, Pocahontas County. As you drive along it, be on the lookout for wild turkeys this is one of their good territories. Both are edible, and you will learn the difference if you care to. Pink orchids of two species should be open along the boardwalk which provides easy entrance to Cranberry Glades.

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Ordinarily a peak time for rosebay rhododendron. I know of no other area in West Virginia which displays so many botanical climaxes as Dolly Sods. Natives call them all "huckleberries", but actually blueberries are much more abundant.

In the open parts of the Dolly Sods plateau there are thousands of acres of native blueberries and huckleberries. Back to Dolly Sods for the delightfully fragrant rosy azaleas, mountain shrubs which are much brighter than the more familiar pinkster azaleas wild honeysuckles of the lowlands.

Pocahontas County, with its high average elevation, does not suffer, ordinarily, from summer drought; as a consequence, vegetation is likely to be lush when it may be sparse in lower, warmer, and drier areas. A very large of species, both in feathers and fur, feed on services and find this early fruit a blessing, particularly as young birds of the year are now out of their nests, hungry, and learning about the world into which they have come. Cheat-Potomac District Parsons Petersburg .

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The quickest way is to Davis, then southeast on West Virginia. Dates given are only suggestive; in any given year vagaries of weather can upset any natural calendar by a week or more. I have tried, however, to cover the state a little more thoroughly, and to follow a chronological pattern from spring to late autumn. This is scenic country at all seasons, and has a wealth of wild flowers. Also at this season there may be the showy scarlet fruits of red-berried elder, an earlier and much handsomer shrub than our black-fruited lowland elder.

Over the weekend of July 4th, the Department of Natural Resources conducts and orchid pilgrimage, under expert guidance and open to any interested person. Just beyond Lanesville the route enters Monongahela National Forest, and the road is limestone rocked to the top of Allegheny Front.

There are services, thousands of them, all along this road. In years of good fruiting there is a show of wild fruits here that rivals anything we have seen along the Blue Ridge Parkway or on Roan Mountain. If you wish you may return by an alternate route; turn right off Route 75 on a road marked "Petersburg", go right at the first blacktop road to an intersection with West Virginia Route This takes you by Seneca Rocks, worthwhile at any season. True huckleberries on the other hand have ten larger seeds, big enough to get into crevices between your teeth. In Flag Glade, right beside the walkway, are fine stands of rose pogonias and grass pinks, both attractive and interesting native orchids.

Flame azalea time in our southern mountains, especially in Pocahontas County. Along highways sourwood and other woody plants are assuming fall coloration, the gums in deep crimson and maroons especially noticeable along U. Route between Morgantown and Grafton. It does not bear fruit every year, but when it does it is worth going long distances to see. You'll see the plants in a bewildering display of yellow, orange, and brick red along almost any of the side ro off West Virginia Route 28 south of Bartow.

On Dolly Sods the services, bearing small apple-like reddish berries, are in full fruit.

Near this summit, on the eastern slope toward Franklin, the only known growth along a West Virginia highway of native white birches occurs. The boardwalk through representative areas of two of the Glade openings has done much to save the unique native flora. Most of these ro are blacktop, and all are worth exploring. Almost any road in the Allegheny Plateau section of the state is good for color; U.

Between the second and third ridges along the headwaters of Back Creek, are active beaver ponds where working beaver may often be seen. The blueberries, chokeberries, and other shrubs on Dolly Sods are now in shades of red, and the whole landscape is colored accordingly. Grandview has fine nature trails, and there should be many wild flowers.

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The best areas I know are along U. Route south of Franklin, Pendleton County. Autumn foliage is the last great color season in West Virginia, and it usually peaks between these dates. There are mats of cranberries growing over the mosses, and if your eyes are sharp enough you may find tiny plants of round-leaved sundew, one of the extraordinary insect-catching species in the area.

Blossoms and buds

This is another gift from the Carolina mountains, brought northward by New River. When the rhododendrons drop their blossoms in early summer, flowering trees and shrubs and woodland flowers become less conspicuous. Where the plants grow in s they provide one of the brightest displays of late spring.

This is period of lush roide blooming, with early goldenrods, sunflowers, flaming cardinal lobelia, blue and white vervains, swamp milkweed, two species of bluebells, and a host of others. A handful of these makes a nice supplement to a luncheon, but you will have to contest for them with the birds and mammals. The Scenic Highway is a delightful road whenever it is open to traffic it is not maintained in winter. During this period the catawba purple rhododendrons should be at their best. A particularly good one is on the "back" road from Cass to near the summit of Back Allegheny Mountain at a junction with U.

Route west of Durbin.

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With the lily are also narrow-leaved gentians, blue in color, and several species of attractive goldenrods. To see highland mountain laurel at its best, however, we return to Dolly Sods. Another particularly fine primitive lily is feather fleece whose he of fluffy whitish blossoms are borne on stalks three or four feet tall.

Both are excellent wildlife foods. Last fall we decided, after critical examination, that the western slope of Allegheny Mountain, two miles into West Virginia, had the highest color we had seen. Cranberries are ready for harvest, and a good many near the headwaters of Red Creek. It suggests times to see them, and how to get there. Along the length of Route 75 there are a myriad of the plants in a variety of pink shades. This tree, often only a shrub, grows at higher elevations in the state, most often in rocky, exposed sites.

On Dolly Sods late August sees a fine showing of an interesting creamy-white primitive lily, a species with no common name in general use, but whose scientific genus is Zygadenus. Cranberry Glades, Pocahontas County, has notable displays of native orchids at this season.

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Bog vegetation is sensitive to disturbance, and before the boardwalk was constructed great damage was being done by thoughtless visitors who tramped through the deep mosses, picked such showy flowers as interested them, and of course discarded them almost at once. At the proper season there are stands of scarlet monarda, native lilies of several species, and good displays of azaleas, mountain laurel, rhododendron and deciduous holly. This is a brief catalog of some of our favorite plant displays in West Virginia. About June 5 a meadow twelve miles south of Monterey may be filled with delicate blue wild hyacinths, tall, slender and attractive.

For about six weeks service berries are staple in the diet of a lot of wild things.

Bloom watch

There are good displays in places along both rims of the New River Gorge, but perhaps the best place is Grandview State Park, nine miles beyond Beckley. Best areas for rosy azaleas are toward the north end of Forest Service Route Park at Red Creek campgrounds water and toilets, plus picnic tablesor at the Bear Rocks terminus of this road.

A word of caution motels in this area are crowded at this season; be sure you have reservations on any weekend. There will be frequent references to it. The whole route is a riot of color, however. Route 32, through Canaan Valley, and to an intersection, and sharp left to Lanesville 5 miles and Dolly Sods 9 miles. Route All of the species mentioned above are present, and they are ed by fine stands of Kansas gay feather, a prairie species which bears dense spikes of attractive lavender blossoms.

Cranberries, abundant in wet, mossy areas, may be turning red at this time. The shrubs growing at high elevations are much deeper pink sometimes rosy red than are lowland specimens. During this period the hawks are migrating southward, and on favorable days there may be a hundred or more hawk watchers on Bear Rocks. They are usually at their best about August At high elevations there are abundant asters and goldenrods, but the bulk of the flowering season is over.

West Virginia's state flower. At the summit take Forest Service Route 75, and cruise its length to a terminus at Bear Rocks where the hawk waters gather in September.

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Near the terminus look for the five-petaled white blossoms of three-toothed cinquefoil, one of the real northern aristocrats of our mountains. It is to be enjoyed along the Northlands Trail, a circular trail which begins near the Red Creek campgrounds. At this point of time we leave flowers for a time, and turn our attention to native fruits. If you can, continue on southward into Monterey, Virginia, and on toward Hot Springs. Along roide wet ditches and drains there may be cranberries in bloom, their pink blossoms with their petals bent backward like miniature shooting stars.

At this season wet mountain meadows in upland areas may have colorful growths of Indian paintbrush, "painted cup. A sight that most people miss, and don't believe until they see it, is the bloom of service trees "sarvis" to the natives on Dolly Sods.

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There are still wild flowers along ro, in open fields, and in mountain bogs.