Cut and run
  The most diverse forest
  Three different forest

  Four seasons
  Colorful fall season
  Flowers galore
  Endangered species
  Lots of forests
  Cutting down the trees
  Forest fun
  Acid Rain

Flowers Galore     West Virginia forests support a wondrous array of flora and fauna. An estimated 2,200 species of vascular plants inhabit the state. To follow their appearance through the seasons Earl L. Core's The Wondrous Year, West Virginia Through the Seasons is a fine guide. His treatise, Flora of West Virginia, is crammed with diagrams and details.  A 1998 book also tracks the flora and fauna of the state's four seasons:  Jim Clark's West Virginia:  the Allegheny Highlands.

       Migrations. The present flora resulted from plant migrations and mutations over an enormous period of time. At the end of the Mesozoic era the Appalachian region was uplifted and converted from a low plain into a mesophytic area.   Subtropic species migrated elsewhere and the newly uplifted peneplain adopted mesophytic flora from Europe, Asia, and North America -- descendants of our present indigenous species.   Pleistocene glaciation narrowly missed West Virginia by 25 miles.  With the ice came Canadian species. Remains of tundra in West Virginia persist today as glades

      As the sheet of ice withdrew and the climate warmed, many northern species disappeared and southern species advanced from the Coastal Plain and the Mississippi Valley up valleys of the Ohio, New, and Potomac rivers.

      Spring in West Virginia brings the promise of renewal.   Winter's contemplation is given life in springtime.   "In the spring a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love," said Alfred, Lord Tennyson in 1842.  Another sweet love is maple syrup, enjoyed first by Native Americans hundreds of years ago.  In March, as sunny days prevail in the highlands, sugar maple trees are tapped, the sap drains, and then it is boiled. 

     Cressy greens, which are pungent leaves of plants belonging to the mustard family, are a staple of rural church dinners beginning in March. And so are ramps, those indescribably flavorful cousins of onions which appear in April and are the main course at ramp feasts in several central counties.  Serviceberry trees or shrubs are early bloomers in April producing a sweet, juicy fruit largely ignored today but prized by Native Americans.

      Nature's palette. And then there is May.  "All things seem possible in May," commented Edwin Teals in 1953.  During April and May there is a remarkable abundance of West Virginia wildflowers as may be seen on wildflower hikes at state parks and state forests.

     The climax of colorful native spring flower blooming occurs in May.  White:  bloodroot, mayflower, toothwort, trillium, some violets, and buckbean.  Green:  hellebore.  Yellow:  marsh marigold, lousewort, buttercups, some violets, and the familiar dandelion.  Pink:   claytonia, wild pink, wild geranium, and lady's slipper.  Red:  red trillium, fire pink, and Indian painbrush.  Blue:  violets including johnny-jump-ups, bluets, wild blue phlox, bluebells (cowslip), blue-eyed Mary, and the tiny speedwell. Intriguing native viola are described in:
Last updated on Monday, July 24, 2000