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The irises my wife, Elizabeth, cultivates in our yard are coming into full bloom as I write this. Their shapes…

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Numerous non-native plants have been introduced into the southern mountains during the last century or so. Many of these are…

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I’m sometimes asked if the prehistoric Cherokees used any sort of poisons on their blowgun darts. These darts (slivers of…

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In the Smokies region, there are three species of dogwood. Everyone is familiar with flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), which is…

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(Author’s Note: While running random Internet searches, I occasionally am confronted from out of the blue, as it were, with…

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My oh my what a wonderful day Plenty of sunshine in my way Zip-a-dee-doo-dah Zip-a-dee-eh Mr Bluebird’s on my shoulder…

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According to the current Ornithological Union listing, the appropriate non-scientific name for a crow is “common crow.” How apt! Like…

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Lately, I’ve been writing a lot about birds. I guess I have them on my mind, in part, because the…

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The curious lifestyles and distinctive habits one can observe in the bird world are continually fascinating. Some things you can…

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Many people who spend some time walking the woodland stream banks and other wet areas here in the Smokies region…

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Some folks can’t stand house sparrows (a native of north Africa and Eurasia) while others detest starlings (a native of…

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Joe Wright was born and raised in the high Nantahalas in the northwest corner of Macon County. He was 90-some-years-old…

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The recent warm spell has the birds singing and various plants budding. One of these is forsythia. My wife, Elizabeth,…

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Of late, I have been hearing the owls sounding off on the slopes and ridge lines behind our home. Some…

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Some years ago, when I was first interested in plant identification, I became curious about liverworts. They are one of…

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omething banged against the office window above my desk. I assumed it was a bird of some sort. And since…

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In the beginning, the people say, the dog was put on the mountain and the wolf beside the fire. When…

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(Note: A version of this essay will appear in an upcoming issue of “Chinquapin: The Newsletter of the Southern Appalachian…

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On a winter walk you will encounter numerous evergreen plants. None is more mysterious or delightful to behold than the…

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It wasn’t until the late 1970s that my wife, Elizabeth, and I first started birding in a systematic fashion. That…

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While crossing the Blue Ridge north of present Asheville in the early 1540s, Hernando de Soto’s scribes entered some brief…

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I recently happened upon an interesting article that described an excursion made in 1860 to the Alum Cave on the…

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Several years ago I wrote about Bradford Torrey’s A World of Green Hills, which was published in 1898 by Houghton…

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We are all fascinated by birds. In addition to being pretty (even buzzards are pretty in their own way), they…

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While scanning the shelves of a rare bookstore in Asheville several months ago, I happened upon a regional volume by…

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Our southern mountains are old and relatively sedate when compared with the Himalayas, Rockies, and other “young” mountain ranges. But…

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A new book has been published that will be of particular interest to area hunters, outdoorsmen, and dog lovers. It…

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Until I started birding seriously as an adult, I didnÕt know that snipe actually existed. For years that bird was…

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Cedar waxwings and American holly are with us year round. The waxwings wander around a lot in extended family groups,…

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The second soul, that of physiological life, is located in the liver, and is of primary importance in doctoring and…

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There are more than 300,000 plant species in the world. Some are edible, some can be used for their medicinal…

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Every few years, there will be a bumper crop of long flat strap-shaped honey locust pods, many up to two…

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Here in the southern mountains there are magical habitats to be explored in every direction and at every elevation. Periglacial…

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When late November finally arrives, my wife, Elizabeth, and I go into another mode. Her busy season in the gallery-studio…

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Naturalists are always being quizzed about this or that. Turn about is fair play. So, are you ready for a…

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If you’ve been getting out in the woods at all lately, you’re aware that it’s been an especially good season…

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Due to the virtual absence of wind and rain, the fall color season is lingering with us. But winter weather…

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As I write this on Monday morning, we’ve just had our initial hard frost of the year here in Swain…

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The various relationships that exist between plants and animals are fascinating. My view of wildflower ecology is dominated by the…

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Some trees that might be difficult to locate during the spring through fall foliage season become more apparent in winter.…

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The fall wildflower season has arrived. Along roadsides and woodland edges some of our more robust native plants are now…

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When I was growing up in the tobacco-farming portion of the southern Virginia piedmont, there were many haunted outbuildings throughout…

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I recently received an email from a reader who asked, “Could you write about the sweet bubby bush? That’s the…

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It’s mid-September ... late summer is sliding toward early autumn. The end of summer officially arrives with the autumnal equinox…

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The walnut trees along the creek where we live are exhibiting a bumper crop this year. At night we are…

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No late summer wildflower is more widely recognized than evening primrose. The four broad yellow petals that open in the…

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One of the more interesting and entertaining early descriptive accounts of the southern mountains is contained in a diary kept…

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I sometimes have occasion to drive Interstate 81 up the Great Valley of Tennessee and Virginia to Washington, D.C. As…

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When a street was being cut in front of the new county administration building here in Bryson City back in…

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