Tennessee is a southern state in the U.S. The delta region is to the west and is comprised of swamp, lowlands and floodplains. According to Oregon State University's PRISM Climate group, the average annual precipitation for most of Tennessee was 55 to 60 inches from 1971 to 2000. With this rainfall and varied geography, Tennessee has a large variety of native plants and trees.
Great Blue Lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica or the Great Blue Lobelia is a wildflower in the Bell Flower family. This erect perennial grows 24 to 48 inches tall. It has two-lipped blue flowers that are 1 inch long, and in rare instance the flowers are white. It is found in swampy, wet areas. Iroquois Native Americans used this herb as a cough remedy.
Mountain Stonecrop, Sedum ternatum, is found in moist woodlands in two-thirds of the state. It grows 2 to 3 inches tall, and it is a hardy plant that grows in poor soils. It has white flowers with succulent leaves in rosette formation. Mountain Stonecrop is an evergreen perennial that Native Americans used for food.
White Ash, Fraxinus Americana, grows in areas from Canada south to northern Florida. Its wood is used for sports in baseball bats, hockey sticks, polo sticks and tennis rackets. White Ash can grow up to 80 feet tall, and its dark-green, deciduous leaves are 8 to 13 inches long. The White Ash's fruit is a 1-inch-long, light-brown Samara. The tree's gray-brown bark has deep ridges that form diamond patterns. The White Ash grows in rich soils near streams and low-sloping areas. It is used in furniture, because of its strength and lightness.
The Tulip Poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera, is the state tree and is actually a member of the magnolia family. The yellow tulip-shaped flower blossoms from April to June. The leaves are smooth and dark green, and the bark becomes thick with deep furrows as it ages. The Tulip Poplar grows up to 120 feet, with trunks up to 5 feet in diameter. The fruits are cone-shaped and feed squirrels, and deer eat its twigs. This tree is a popular ornamental, and its wood is used for furniture, veneer and pulpwood. Tulip Poplars also are used in reforestation projects because of their rapid growth.
The Passion Flower, Passiflora incarnata, is the Tennessee state flower. It is native to the southeastern U.S. Hardiest of the passion flowers, it can survive temperatures down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a climbing vine with lavender and white flowers, with edible fruit. It attracts butterflies and is popular in gardens, where it needs part shade.
- Photo Credit douglas lake image by gou from Fotolia.com
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