The wildflowers are finally coming into bloom in the Allegheny Mountains.
At Finnegan's Ledges, Mile 65, on the Passage the hepatica (Hepatica nobilis) is in full bloom. This early spring flower is scatter along the trail, found specifically where neutral, limestone derived soils are found.
The flowers appear well before the leaves. Rising from the center of last years rosette of leaves single wiry stems are topped by small multiple petaled flowers. The blossoms can be from snow white to a deep purple.
Later, the three-lobed leaves will appear. These are dark green and somewhat mottled. The combination of dark color and three lobes gives the appearance of a human liver and thus the common and scientific name of hepatica.
Hepatica is just the beginning. Over the next month the length of the Great Allegheny Passage will come alive along the length.