Biota of the Blue Ridge: Rose Twisted-stalk

An uncommon and easily missed lily of rich forest glades

…from Mt Rogers Naturalist Rally notes, 2010

At our very last stop along the flanks of a deep and heavily wooded creek valley, we explored a seep already in moderate shade from a heavy canopy of mixed-age hardwoods. I’m afraid I probably squealed in a most un-masculine way when I spotted an “old friend” once known only from the Grindstone Nature Trail: Rose Twisted Stalk. Note that this image was taken looking towards the sky, from under this horizontally-oriented plant, small dark-pink fused-petal flowers hanging from the axils and more or less in the plane of the alternate leaves.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Rose Twisted-stalk is quite a find! We usually walk right by it, assuming it must be Solomon’s Seal. It’s dainty pink bells are worth getting ticks in your eyebrows from lying down in the woods to take its picture. I won’t see it up here in northern NY until the end of May. And then only in a very few locations.