Shenandoah National Park: Tuscarora Overall Run & Beecher Ridge Loop Part 1

This week we went on a loop trail of about 10 miles. Starting at the same parking lot as when we went on the Tuscarora Overall Run – Heiskell Hollow Trail Loop, we went the same way around – turning right onto Overall Run Trail, then left onto a connector, and then up Beecher Ridge Trail. We circled back down along Tuscarora Overall Run Trail.

Sweet Autumn Clematis

Sweet Autumn Clematis

Sweet Autumn Clematis, Sweet Autumn Virginsbower, or Clematis terniflora, is a member of the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) and blooms July to September. It differs from the similar Clematis virginiana in that its leaves are smooth and group in bunches of five, as opposed to toothed and bunches of three. Introduced from Japan, this vine now grows throughout central and eastern North America and some places in western North America as well.

Sweet Autumn Clematis

Sweet Autumn Clematis grows on borders of woods, as well as in thickets and moist places.

This plant was growing in several places along the road to Thompson Hollow Trail. The butterflies were enjoying the flowers.

Other wildflowers observed on the way to Thompson Hollow Trail include: Wild Potato Vine, Queen Anne’s Lace, Common Yarrow, Chicory, and Asiatic Dayflower.

Hoary Mountain Mint

Hoary Mountain Mint

Hoary Mountain Mint, or Pycnanthemum incanum, is a member of the Mint family (Lamiaceae) and blooms July to September in woods and thickets. It is native to eastern North America. Its fresh or dried leaves can be made into a mint-like tea. Hoary Mountain Mint also has medicinal properties – the leaves can also be made into a poultice for headaches. Like other plants of the Mint family, it can be used to treat colds, fevers, and digestive problems as well.

Hoary Mountain Mint

The small white to lavender flowers in rounded clusters are quite pretty. We found Hoary Mountain Mint growing near the swimming hole off Overall Run Trail, as well as in a couple other places along our loop.

Flowering Spurge

Flowering Spurge

Flowering Spurge, or Euphorbia corollata, is a member of the Spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) and blooms June to October. Native to central and eastern North America, it can be found in dry open woods, fields, and roadsides. The name “spurge” comes from the Latin expurgare, “to purge.” This plant has been used as a laxative, but large doses can be poisonous.

Other wildflowers observed on the way to Beecher Ridge include: Lady’s Thumb, Appalachian Ironweed, and Creeping Bush Clover.

Continue to Part 2

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