Many of these tourists (AKA flatland tourists, or simply flatlanders) do not know the lovely colors that spring brings to these same mountains. The first bit of color comes from the Eastern Redbud tree whose lovely red blossoms precede most of the leaves. Because the trees bud and leaf at different intervals, the mountains have many lovely shades of green.
The trees bringing this variety of greens and yellows are many. We have White Ash, Basswood (also called beetree because bees use it for honey production), Sweet Birch (once the only source of oil of wintergreen), Hickory, Red Maple, several varieties of Oak, Hickory, Yellow Poplar (Tulip Tree), Walnut, Locust, Willows, Black Cherry, and the American Beech (whose nuts are important food source for wildlife).
Most of the evergreens are assorted pines, Fraser Fir (your Christmas tree likely came from a western NC tree farm), and the Carolina Hemlock. The Carolina Hemlocks are widely infected with woolly adelgid, a parasite that kills the trees. Stands of this lovely old growth will likely go the way of the American Elm.
Finally, we have the flowering trees that give us a renewed sense of spring. Pictured here is the Flowering Dogwood. Currently blooming in our forests are the Fraser Magnolia and Tulip Poplar.
their myriad leaves in leisured dance—
they bear the weight of sky and cloud
upon the fountain of their veins.
- Kathleen Raine, Envoi
For more information about NC trees, visit: http://www.wildwnc.org/education/trees