South Carolina, with its diverse array of habitats stretching from the Appalachians to the Atlantic, is home to more than 3,100 species of plants including more than 680 species of wildflowers.
Beginning almost immediately with European colonization, the state’s rich flora has been explored by some of the most famous botanists in U.S. history including John Lawson, Mark Catesby, William Bartram, Thomas Walter and Andre Michaux.
You’ll find wildflowers blooming along forested paths and planted in gardens and landscapes throughout the state. Heliotrope and Common Toadflax can be spotted along roadsides and fields, Trillium, bloodroot and windflower brightly bloom in forests.
The Carolina Jessamine, the official State Flower, with its glossy, evergreen foliage and bright, deliciously fragrant flowers, is a characteristic feature of moist southern lowlands and is often planted to cover banks, fences, and trellises.
One of South Carolina’s earliest wildflowers, the Oconee Bell, can be seen blooming in mid-March at Devils Fork State Park along the Oconee Bell Nature Trail.
The Station Cove Falls Trail, which begins at Oconee Station State Historic Site and crosses on to the Sumter National Forest is an exceptional wildflower destination especially from April into May. This easily traversed trail leads through dry upland communities, through streamside hardwood forests and finally into the rich mountain cove forest of Station Cove Falls. Highlights of a trip include little sweet Betsy, Canada violet, and maybe some walking fern.
Take a wildflower hike into Landsford Canal State Park in South Carolina’s Olde English District. Famous for its rocky shoals spider lilies that reach their peak mid-May through mid-June, Landsford is also home to the Cardinal Flower, Jack-in-the-pulpit, crane-fly orchid, spicebush, spiderwort, Solomon’s seal, fire pink, and yellow passionflower.
For those interested in searching for wildflowers in the South Carolina lowcountry may want to check out the nature trail and riverbanks of Givhans Ferry State Park. Wildflowers to be found include mayapple, coral honeysuckle and atamasco lily.
Table Rock and the Mountain Bridge Wilderness area are also great Upstate destinations for those in search of beautiful spring wildflowers. You may contact either park for potential wildflowers in bloom as you plan your trip.