The moist, shady habitat of the Wildflower Refuge shelters four Trillium species, a variety of ferns, and a number of common wildflowers. It is also home to several rare species that have been rescued from construction sites. The Refuge was established in 1974 as a result of the actions of Dr. Martin Mathes and the support of President Thomas Graves. A 1976 resolution passed by the College's Board of Visitors states that the refuge is not to be used as a construction site and is to be maintained in its present natural state.
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is among the first wildflower to bloom each spring in the refuge, followed by Pink Lady Slipper (Cypripedium acaule).
Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) can be found in April, along with some Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica).
Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia), Allegheny Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia), Golden Ragwort (Senecio aureus), and Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) are also among the spring blooms.
Several Rhododendron (Rhododendron sp.) varieties bloom in June. Indian Pipes (Monotropa uniflora) are angiosperms, although they resemble fungi in their saprophytic nature and lack of chlorophyll.
Click the left and right arrows in the photo box to the right to see a sampling of wildflower blossoms found in the refuge.